PASSENGERS could pay less than $100 for a three-hour journey from Melbourne to Sydney using the federal government's proposed high-speed rail link along the east coast.
The first study of the link between Melbourne and Brisbane will be released today, putting the price tag at between $61 billion and $108 billion for the project.
The report puts non-stop travel times along the 1600-kilometre distance of the track at six hours - three hours from Melbourne to Sydney and three hours from Sydney to Brisbane - with speeds of up to 350 km/h.
With the air corridor between Melbourne and Sydney the fourth busiest in the world, one-way tickets for travel on that route are predicted to be between $99 and $197. The Sydney-Brisbane route is costed at $75 to $177.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese is using the release of the implementation study to sell the project's potential to connect regional and metropolitan communities, ease road and air congestion as well as reduce carbon emissions.
''There are, of course, critics of high-speed rail - but its success elsewhere in the world says otherwise,'' Mr Albanese said.
''In Spain, the line between Madrid and Seville is so popular, it carries more people between those cities than cars and airplanes combined.''
The report estimated that about 54 million passengers a year could use the high-speed rail system, with stops in Canberra, Newcastle and the Gold Coast.
Rail entry to Melbourne is recommended through Southern Cross and North Melbourne stations at a cost of $5.3 billion for city access and the stations.
The route for Melbourne to Sydney would be via either a Hume Highway corridor or a coastal route.
The $20 million study was promised by Labor before last year's federal election.
The project has the backing of the government, Coalition and the Greens.