Labor has promised $1.7 million to complete a four-kilometre “missing link” between Scottsdale and Launceston as part of Tasmania’s North East Rail Trail.
Major sections of the trail have already been committed to, and Bass Labor candidate Ross Hart said the pledge would fully connect the trail from Scottsdale through to Launceston.
“Labor’s plan will see the trail between Coldwater Creek Station fully connected through to the cycling trail currently being constructed by the Launceston City Council because it is the most critical to fully realising the impact of the visitation and visitor experience,” Mr Hart said.
“Cyclists will be able to explore the beautiful landscape through Tasmania’s most picturesque villages, farmland, vineyards, art galleries and cafes.”
The stretch promised by Labor is considered to be the most technically difficult aspect of the trail.
The rail trail passes through the rural areas of Karoola, Lalla, Lilydale, Tunnel, Lebrina, Nabowla, Lietinna, Scottsdale and onto Billycock Hill.
Some landowners had raised concerns with the trails, which led to a lengthy consultation process.
Mr Hart said the funding would be delivered through the Launceston City Council and work with the Dorset Council, businesses, landowners and community representatives.
He said the election promise would mean students, tourists and locals would be able to ride their bike from Inveresk to 28 kilometres past Scottsdale.
“This isn’t just an investment in our people, it is an investment in jobs, our regional towns and our stunning environment which more people will be able to enjoy,” he said.
“The fully connected North East Rail Trail will deliver significant economic activity and support around 40 jobs.”
He said the venture would attract families and early retirees who would spend on average $450 per person per day, giving regional areas a much needed boost.
The trail’s spokeswoman Sarah Hirst welcomed the promise, and said the link was considered essential.
“This is such an exciting opportunity,” she said.
“We need the trail to reach all the way to Launceston.”
The Liberals have provided $2.45 million for the Blue Derby bike trails and $1.47 million for the Rail Trail, as well as $40,000 for future planning and development.