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Light rail sent down a spur

By 14 May 2009 22

Federal Budget 2009 announced several transport infrastructure projects. Most notable was the omission of the ACT Government’s palm outstretched for $2 billion to build light rail. It did not get on the short list of the Infrastructure Australia projects: see National Infrastructure Priorities May 2009. Seems that the Feds saw some dodgy figures and requested more information. They however have handed out $395 million to the Queensland Government as part of a $850 million initial project to build light rail for the Gold Coast with the rest of the money to be potentially coughed up by the private sector. That is $850 million for 13kms folks, whereas what ACT Light Rail wants is something like 70kms on their new revised network map that they have on their website.

Surprisingly the Budget did hand out $61 million to the SA Government to build a busway extension for the O-Bahn system. This did not appear on the Priorities list so must have been done as a result of sound arguements from the SA Government. If only the ACT Government had proposed an O-Bahn system maybe……..sigh

Looks like the Queensland and SA Governments did their homework, gave robust figures that could be verified and the Feds accepted those figures. Maybe boys, you will have better luck when the economy recovers from 2013.

BTW, like your work regarding your demands to Canberra International Airport with what they should be doing with light rail: I’m convinced.

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22 Responses to
Light rail sent down a spur
dosomethinguseful 9:44 am
14 May 09
#1

I’m starting to think KRudd has something against Canberra

caf 9:53 am
14 May 09
#2

ACT Light rail missing out wasn’t surprising, since the project didn’t even make it into Infrastructure Australia’s “pipeline” projects list. The Majura Parkway, on the other hand, made it on to the “ready to go now” list, and was pretty much the only such project that missed out in the budget.

Gungahlin Al 9:56 am
14 May 09
#3

Schizophrenic as always Pandy. You support the light rail concept for Canberra but hate anything and everything ACT Light Rail does.

The reason the bid failed was evident even in your own explanation – the dodgy, unenthusiastic and all-or-nothing presentation of the bid by the ACT ALP government that was clearly set up to fail.

Whereas ACT LR have only ever sought to have the network kicked off with one or two keystone routes built. How exactly is ACT LR responsible for the ALP’s deception?

The undeniable fact is that the PWC cost-benefit analysis has confirmed what many (and I) always suspected: that the government(s) could actually build the entire thing and not just break even – but MAKE money – to the tune of over $1 billion.

And this is underlined further by the successful funding of similar systems in several other Australian locations.

PM 10:48 am
14 May 09
#4

Gungahlin Al said :

Schizophrenic as always Pandy. You support the light rail concept for Canberra but hate anything and everything ACT Light Rail does.

The reason the bid failed was evident even in your own explanation – the dodgy, unenthusiastic and all-or-nothing presentation of the bid by the ACT ALP government that was clearly set up to fail.

Whereas ACT LR have only ever sought to have the network kicked off with one or two keystone routes built. How exactly is ACT LR responsible for the ALP’s deception?

The undeniable fact is that the PWC cost-benefit analysis has confirmed what many (and I) always suspected: that the government(s) could actually build the entire thing and not just break even – but MAKE money – to the tune of over $1 billion.

And this is underlined further by the successful funding of similar systems in several other Australian locations.

+1.

Well said! Blaming ACT LR Coalition for something they didn’t do, and in fact for something they stated was poorly conceived, is ridiculous.

MrMagoo 1:27 pm
14 May 09
#5

i suppose we shouldn’t expect to much from the ACT Government when they are prepared to leave bus passengers standing on the roadside in teh cold while they knock over the interchange.

bigred 4:15 pm
14 May 09
#6

So the TWU members continue to drive buses and the CFMEU memebers get to pull down belco interchange. ANd both contribute $$$ to the stanhopeless government. Threat over, light rail gone. Toot toot!

JC 4:22 pm
14 May 09
#7

Gungahlin Al said :

And this is underlined further by the successful funding of similar systems in several other Australian locations.

What systems would these be? Unless I am mistaken the only new light rail project in Australia over the past umpteen years is Sydney circa 1996.

Sure Adelaide has had refurbishment and extension, and Melbourne keeps slowly growing too, but where else is there?

Also the $1B profit over how many years is that figure? Even at a high fare of $4 per ride, that is 250M passengers, not taking into account any running costs.

Gungahlin Al 4:56 pm
14 May 09
#8

In this budget JC. Gold Coast $365m. $20m for Brisbane routes study.

damien haas 5:06 pm
14 May 09
#9

Gungahlin Al and PM are correct. The IA shortlist published in December is fascinating reading. Is clear that many projects submitted did not satisfy the criteria laid down by IA for submissions, or were not ‘shovel ready’. I think the PWC Business Case for light rail had flaws – which we were only able to see when it was released to the public on the thursday eve prior to the easter long weekend.

The big bonus or public transport advocates from the PWC business case is that it confirms that light rail would be a benefit to the ACT economy. It also states that the current bus network is costing the ACT economy.

In discussions ACT Light Rail have had with people at the federal government level, this is not a one off deal. Because light rail did not receive funding in this round, doesnt mean it never will. The ALP see the IA program running for their term of government.

Id like to see Mr Stanhope show some vision and provide funding for an initial route. The ACT could afford 200 million over 5 years for an initial route to be constructed.

By claiming the ACT government can never afford infrastructure and that ONLY federal money could deliver light rail, the Stanhope government exposes itself as an intellectually weak administration. Its an argument a first year economics student could shoot through with a spitball from a straw.

I also dont believe that the Stanhope government in any way tried to derail the IA bid. That makes no sense at all. The bid was underdone, relied on old data and demanded all or nothing. It was shortlisted (a positive) and sent for further study (also a positive).

Light rail rolls on.

Cobrico 7:00 pm
14 May 09
#10

Why the focus on light rail? One project funded was an extension of the O’Bahn system in Adelaide, serving its north-west suburbs. The O’Bahn allows everyday buses to run either on a public road and/or a purpose-built busway. Used in various European cities. There’s a significant construction cost for the busway but no expensive rail rolling stock. And because buses have route flexibility, you’re not locked into having rail continue serve areas where inevitably demographic change will mean the population departs at some time in the future. Imaginative, and worth a look.

bd84 9:05 pm
14 May 09
#11

LR was never going to be funded in the budget anyway.

sepi 10:49 pm
14 May 09
#12

Populations don’t usually depart altogether, just the age range changes.

Trains are better for all age ranges than buses.

and far more pleasant.

deye 11:23 pm
14 May 09
#13

bigred said :

So the TWU members continue to drive buses and the CFMEU memebers get to pull down belco interchange. ANd both contribute $$$ to the stanhopeless government. Threat over, light rail gone. Toot toot!

If rail is built you wouldn’t get rid of the buses, just change the runs so they feed the train stations instead.

Pandy 11:47 pm
14 May 09
#14

ROFLMOL!!!!!

>Schizophrenic as always Pandy. You support the light rail concept for Canberra but hate *anything and everything* (emphasis added) ACT Light Rail does.

Read the last line again! Sheesh!!!! Talk about paranoia!!!!

>How exactly is ACT LR responsible for the ALP’s deception?

Did I say that they are?

>that the government(s) could actually build the entire thing and not just break even – but MAKE money – to the tune of over $1 billion.

And for a profit of $1 billion, why did the Feds not jump up for joy and buy it? I guess because they did not believe the PWC figures and thus why should you believe the $1 billion figure?
You seem to cherry pick the profit that the system will generate, but then dismiss anything else. If premise that the figures are dodgy to begin with (so says ACT LR), why not think the so-called intangible profit is not so too? You can’t have it both ways guys!
The bid was so rushed they admitted that a proper comparison with other forms of transport was not done and they did not include priority routes that are needed now like to the airport. PWC should now go back to the drawing board but that would mean the ACT Government needs the will to invest in another study with no light at the end of the tunnel.

The ACT Government should go and study the reasons why the GC LR got their money. Maybe it was because GC city council has 4 lower house seats? Maybe they have a bigger population even though their density is lower? Maybe because they have convinced a private equity investor lined up?

The reality is, this bid for Federal money has failed, like several others the ACT government put up, and I doubt that another LR bid will be considered for some years, in this safe Labor town. Better luck would be to see who the private equity investor (Macquarie Bank?) is for the GC LR that will be soon announced and see if they are interested in setting-up something for Canberra. Maybe that ring route around the Lake that will appeal to the Feds?

I await a Media Release from ACT LR on this latest set-back.

shutterbug 12:41 pm
15 May 09
#15

Here’s an idea, get that $2billion dollars and use it to put solar power on every home in Canberra. That ill make much more of a difference to carbon emissions than giving a dozen or so hippies a light rail network.

Pandy 8:35 am
17 May 09
#16

Oh geez shutterbug, you have a point there!!!

caf 5:06 pm
17 May 09
#17

It’d also result in an effective transfer of $2billion to house owners at the expense of unit owners and renters. Completely inequitable and regressive, and I say that as a house owner!

damien haas 7:05 pm
17 May 09
#18

Cobrico – its the ‘flexibility’ of buses which are its main disadvantage as a MASS TRANSIT public transport solution for the ACT. Fixed infrastructure between major population and employment centres enables planners and developers to know with some certainty that a certain volume of passengers/employees/students will be able to use public transport. No such certainty exists with buses. In addition, the quantity of passengers carried on a bus cannot equal the same amount carried on a light rail vehicle. Multiple light rail vehicles can be connected together if volume warrants it, and still use only one driver. The flexibility of buses is an advantage when planning feeder services to public transport nodes/park and rides.

Integrated public transport utilising the advantages of mass transit and bus flexibility will deliver the best solution for Canberras public transport.

O-bahn is an interesting technology, but it hasnt really been the success that its proponents claim. The current expansion is only a few kilometres and is costing 61 million. One thing it does do properly is use articulated buses and grade separation. I dont believe proprietary technology is the best way to implement public transport. Light rail has dozens of vehicle providers and track standardisation – a big advantage over any guided busway system.

Pandy 8:33 pm
17 May 09
#19

What would a few kms of light rail expansion cost? The fact is light rail/bus lanes/O-Bahn costs money.

The ACT does not have the transport problems/peak hour problems that cities like Sydney or Melbourne has.

LR has its problems. Plenty of failures in Melbourne and Adelaide of late especially of the A/C units. Also in Melbourne the new LR units needed changes in platform design. the tracks might be standardised but the rail units sure are not!

PM 3:02 pm
21 May 09
#20

So Pandy, yes or no question:

Are you for or against light rail?

Thanks.

PM 3:03 pm
21 May 09
#21

Yes in favour

No against

:)

Pandy 9:55 pm
14 Jul 09
#22

sorry to bring this up but the AGE reported that the Vic Govco is buying 50 new trams for 1 billion dollars. Up from 100 new trams for 500 million a few years ago. The 50 trams at crush levels will carry an extra 10,000 people an hour.

Very quiet around here hey?

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