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Capital Metro

By Mark Parton - 16 May 2014 195

light-rail

The closer we get to the magical fairytale of light rail in Canberra, the more it appears that the accounting on this big ticket item has come from the Brothers Grimm.

At the start of this week, Treasurer Andrew Barr was up in arms because of the story that the Canberra Times had run suggesting there would be a city wide levy on rates to pay for toy train line.

He told me that was just incorrect.

“Ok Minister, so you can categorically rule out a city wide levy ?”
“Oh no,” said Mr Barr, “I’m not in the business of ruling things in and ruling things out at this stage.”
“So was the Canberra Times correct in their suggestion ?”
“No they were wrong.”
“So you can rule it out ?”
“No I can’t”

It became an endless conversation and it left my listeners believing that there was as fair chance they would be subject to a city wide levy.

I spoke to the Chief Minister, the morning after the Federal Budget and she wasn’t much clearer.

I put it to her that government “didn’t seem to have any idea how we were going to find the money for this project.”

She explained to me that, it’s not like that I have no idea, it’s just that they have lots of ideas and they haven’t decided which one to go with yet.

And NOTHING is being ruled in or out.

I’m not diametrically opposed to light rail in Canberra. I think if we could wave a magic wand and create a line between Gungahlin and Civic tomorrow it would be wonderful for our city. But we can’t.

Is there anyone reading this who believes the project will be delivered on time and on budget?
Yes Capital Metro has the potential to genuinely propel our city into the 21st century, but at what cost?

What’s Your opinion?


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195 Responses to
Capital Metro
1
damien haas 5:25 pm
16 May 14
#

Yes.

If properly managed, the project can be delivered on time and on budget.

The question you ask Mark is not related to the point you are trying to make in your article. The article alludes to financing options that aren’t yet decided upon, are part of a range of options, and which you (and other journos) have singled out as the one to focus upon.

I am heartened that you think light rail is a good idea.

As the project is going ahead, It has to be paid for in some form.

The federal governments of both liberal and labour flavours preferred not to invest in ACT public transport infrastructure. If we both agree light rail is a good idea, we agree it must be paid for, then the points of difference come down to the method of financing. I suggest its best to explore all options and then arrive at the method most likely to ensure that it actually can be built.

Let us wait and see what the real financing option is before hyperventilating about magical fairytales.

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

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2
davjp 5:45 pm
16 May 14
#

What does light rail offer that a bus doesn’t? Do a bus lane down Northbourne and it’s pretty close to the same thing.

I don’t see a reason to waste money on it there are plenty of other things that are more important at the moment.

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3
jase! 6:09 pm
16 May 14
#

davjp said :

What does light rail offer that a bus doesn’t? Do a bus lane down Northbourne and it’s pretty close to the same thing.

I don’t see a reason to waste money on it there are plenty of other things that are more important at the moment.

fantastic question davjp. what does light rail provide that a dedicated t-way down the same route wouldnt provide?

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4
goggles13 6:35 pm
16 May 14
#

the difficulty I have with the light rail project is that it is many years too late for Canberra and the current plans only cater for a proportion of Canberra’s population.

the ACT Govt should not be planning in this way, it is very shortsighted and fraught with danger.

regardless of what the cost of the project, the citizens of the ACT will have to pay for it, and I cannot see the burden only being put on those directly advantaged by the project, otherwise there will be large migration from Gungahlin to other parts of Canberra.

quite bluntly it’s time for the ACT Light Rail project to stop and be buried forever.

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5
milkman 7:11 pm
16 May 14
#

jase! said :

davjp said :

What does light rail offer that a bus doesn’t? Do a bus lane down Northbourne and it’s pretty close to the same thing.

I don’t see a reason to waste money on it there are plenty of other things that are more important at the moment.

fantastic question davjp. what does light rail provide that a dedicated t-way down the same route wouldnt provide?

This is the question I need answered too. If there’s a sensible answer then great, but if not, forget it.

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6
gooterz 8:38 pm
16 May 14
#

Everyone in Gungahlin will have access to NBN soon enough.. and not just NBN the fibre version.

So Gunganites will have the option of being able to easily work from home cheaply, drive to work, bus to work, find work in Gungahland or travel by magical light rail.

Many parts of the south are only able to drive to work, and then once they get to work parking is a nightmare.

$600 million in light rail for 13kms ~ 20 million taxi fares. ~ 100 million trips by taxi.

Which would create a huge number of jobs and the money goes back into Canberra.

It would take 13 years for 20,000 people to make taxi trips every day to break even with light rail, and yet a taxi isn’t fixed to a particular location.

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7
bigred 10:18 pm
16 May 14
#

The whole idea of the light rail project is to provide an economic stimulus during the coming downturn. Don’t really care where they get the $, but the economy needs this to start asap. The secondary benefits inlude fixed transport linkages and increased land tax revenue. Bit of a no lose really.

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8
JC 11:41 pm
16 May 14
#

gooterz said :

Everyone in Gungahlin will have access to NBN soon enough.. and not just NBN the fibre version.

So Gunganites will have the option of being able to easily work from home cheaply, drive to work, bus to work, find work in Gungahland or travel by magical light rail.

Many parts of the south are only able to drive to work, and then once they get to work parking is a nightmare.

Many parts of the north (Belconnen for example) are in the same boat. So what exactly is your point? Somewhere needs to get infrastructure first, and Gungahlin was the logical choice for NBN considering the internet was worse than anywhere else in Canberra (not saying pockets elsewere weren’t) it is also the only part of Canberra where light rail can really be justified.

You also seem to think light rail will service Gungahlin as a whole, but reality is only those along the actual corridor. The rest of Gungahlin will have to get the bus like everyone else in Canberra.

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9
Ben_Dover 12:37 pm
17 May 14
#

Hopefully the light rail will be the “straw which breaks the camels back” for ACT voters, and we’ll be rid of the Greens and their; “we will spend billions of your tax $$$ on something useless that no one wants or needs just to satisfy our prejudices” schemes.

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10
Mark Parton 3:13 pm
17 May 14
#

Northbourne Avenue will never be the same !

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11
Masquara 3:18 pm
17 May 14
#

davjp said :

What does light rail offer that a bus doesn’t? Do a bus lane down Northbourne and it’s pretty close to the same thing.

I don’t see a reason to waste money on it there are plenty of other things that are more important at the moment.

+1. Canberra does not need light rail. Just bus priority down Northbourne, and restrict the Gungahlinites to two lanes (and keep booking selfsame Gungahlinites on Ebden Street as they rat-race through Ainslie, please!)

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12
bundah 4:18 pm
17 May 14
#

It’s simply too expensive, unnecessary and ostentatious. We don’t have the population base to make it viable!

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13
jgsma 6:44 pm
17 May 14
#

How are passengers to get to and from this nonsensical means of transport? If I live or work anywhere but along the route or Civic or Gungahlin, will I be getting in my car or on a bus to get to the light rail, then getting off the light rail and bussing to my destination?

I don’t think so.

Wonderful means of transport but not here, not now.

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14
pepmeup 6:58 pm
17 May 14
#

davjp said :

What does light rail offer that a bus doesn’t? Do a bus lane down Northbourne and it’s pretty close to the same thing.

I don’t see a reason to waste money on it there are plenty of other things that are more important at the moment.

This is exactly my argument, why not put a new bus only lane down the middle of northboune ave. It will be exactly as quick at moving people through traffic as a street level light rail system.

Also why does so much new spending have to be in Gungahlin? The inner north and inner south pay way more in rates and get nothing. Why not light rail from Manuka/Kingston via Parlo triangle to civic?

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15
JessP 7:26 pm
17 May 14
#

gooterz said :

Everyone in Gungahlin will have access to NBN soon enough.. and not just NBN the fibre version.

So Gunganites will have the option of being able to easily work from home cheaply, drive to work, bus to work, find work in Gungahland or travel by magical light rail.

Many parts of the south are only able to drive to work, and then once they get to work parking is a nightmare.

$600 million in light rail for 13kms ~ 20 million taxi fares. ~ 100 million trips by taxi.

Which would create a huge number of jobs and the money goes back into Canberra.

It would take 13 years for 20,000 people to make taxi trips every day to break even with light rail, and yet a taxi isn’t fixed to a particular location.

$600m to transport Gungahlinites (not that there is anything wrong with Gungahlinites).

How about fixing Action buses for all of us instead??

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