ACT Government now considers Light Rail a priority

ACT Light Rail 10 July 2008 47

ACT Light Rail logoIn a media release from the Chief Minister today:

Stanhope lists light rail as ACT priority for Commonwealth infrastructure funding

“The ACT Government has listed a light rail system for the ACT as one of the major infrastructure projects it believes worthy of consideration for Commonwealth funding under the $20 billion Building Australia Fund.

In response to a request from the Rudd Federal Government for suggested major infrastructure projects, the ACT Government has proposed a light rail system linking Civic to the Airport, Parliamentary Triangle and major town centres — a project that could cost around $1 billion to achieve.”

Damien Haas, Convener of the ACT Light Rail group spoke briefly to the Chief Minister this afternoon at the Legislative Assembly and reiterated that ACT Light Rail would like to see more detail than a simple press release. Regardless it appears that the consistent lobbying by ACT Light Rail is now starting to pay dividends.

There is no point in the Government putting the cart before the horse and just saying that a light rail network will be built – if the government has good quality information it can make informed decisions.

ACT Light Rail still contends that next step forward is a unbiased feasibility study which must include a proper cost benefit analysis. (i.e. showing government revenue increases complemented by associated cost decreases – e.g.: additional rates collected through increased population densities along light rail corridors, vs. reduced outlay on new road construction).

 Finally ACT Light Rail will be holding a major debate regarding light rail in September (date and venue to be determined). We are looking for speakers who will be prepared to speak for and against Light Rail… we are sure that RiotACT would be fertile ground to solicit speakers both for an against.

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47 Responses to ACT Government now considers Light Rail a priority
Mælinar Mælinar 11:42 pm 12 Jul 08

Tonight I was contacted by an orgnisation that was keen on a market appraisal of if a ‘snap election’ was held.

Hi Zed, I’m still voting independent until you get your s4it together. Foreward sorry to Troy, I was not allowed to pass my vote to you, the telephone monkey said it was 50/50, either Sonic or Z.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 1:31 pm 12 Jul 08

Thumper said :

I’d like to see an election promises thread so we can keep tabs on all parties in the run up to the election.

TOP IDEA Thumper!

Pandy Pandy 9:17 am 12 Jul 08

Yes an election issue. How?

Just a promise that Stanhope will write to the Feds about seeking $1 billion. It is not like Stanhope is saying he will spend our $1 billion as the electorate will see through that in a shot.

Oh I see you are now arguing that the ACT Government should pay for the infrastructure.

The revenue from increased land sales/ stamp duty (pushing the cost of housing up once again making it less affordable) along isolated pockets of the route will only be realised in the far future.

In the mean-time the residents of Amaroo, Dunlop, Lanyoun will have to put up with infrequent, overcrowed buses because the ACT Govermnet has no vision in spending money in substantially improvong the bus service.

Light Rail is a rich mans dream.

heinous heinous 9:05 am 12 Jul 08

Anyone who has spent any time in Europe will know that Light Rail is the future.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 10:56 pm 11 Jul 08

Pandy: good, keep it up. I believe that light rail can be made into the pivotal election issue. On Mr Stanhope’s oft-quoted $1B figure, please re-read post #39. The total budgetary equation is what matters.

bigred bigred 8:39 pm 11 Jul 08

tom-tom you are an absolute goose. Light rail should have happened before Gungahlin was built but wasn’t. It won’t be built now because the vested interests don’t want it to happen. Stanhope has made his announcement to convince the toy train boys that he might be worth another vote.

And there is no point running around Civic chanting anyone stole my ideas – no pollie in this town has had an original thought since at least 1989! As an aside, have you heard about the Deakin telephone exchange?

Pandy Pandy 6:59 pm 11 Jul 08

noodle: That car park is becasue the Govco sold the carparks.

Maeliner: ACT Light Rail=bonfire

Gungahlin AL: I was pushing for light rail to Molonglo 4 years ago. Oh who pays the 1 billion and who gets the renvenue from increased land sales?

noodle noodle 5:29 pm 11 Jul 08

To start with, I am extremely sceptical about the ACT Government’s commitment to the light rail proposal, and agree with some of the comments above that, in an election year, the Chief Minister can put the idea to the Federal Government – which will say ‘no’ – and then say we didn’t get it because the Feds won’t pay.

I would be more interested to hear some real solutions to how the ACT Government intends to deal with the systems and the problems we have now. The ACTION bus system still doesn’t work, and the government hasn’t dealt with car parking problems. Look at that ugly eyesore of a car park being built next to Lake Burley Griffin and you will see what I mean.

Too much talk, too little action.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 4:55 pm 11 Jul 08

Hax, the entire point of my post seems to have slipped right by you – when you take all the costs and benefits into accoutn, I believe (and only a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis will confirm one way or the other) that the costs would be nothing like $1B, and may actually net out.

hax hax 4:26 pm 11 Jul 08

What a waste of $1 billion.
How is this going to work again?..

What % of population will actually benefit?
How expensive is this going to be in ongoing costs, considering it seems the buses would stay, on TOP of the trains to maintain??

This sounds like something that would just make the public transport system in Canberra (as a whole) even more cumbersome, and expensive, with an added layer of complexity in maintaining the system.

$1 Billion. O.o

And let’s not kid ourselves, most car owners will still have cars. (and at this rate they wont be electric anytime soon)

Mælinar Mælinar 2:25 pm 11 Jul 08

At the very least he is now on record as stating that light rail would be a good thing for Canberra. – Jon Stanhope is also on the record saying ‘blame me for the 2003 fires’.

Point taken ?

It would be fair to say I’m already pro-lightrail, so thanks for the update.

BTW, has ‘bonfire’ ceased to exist ?

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 2:19 pm 11 Jul 08

Mael, at lunch with Mr Stanhope on Tuesday when I raised it he was dead against it. At the time he was complaining about the potential cost to 4-lane the GDE. I pointed out that road construction is an insatiable beast, and that only a fully-fledged public transport system would ever reign it in, but it needed a visionary government.

I went on to explain the potential for vastly higher land sale revenue that would result from a guaranteed rail route but that wouldn’t result from buses (because they are guaranteed infrastructure as to bus routes that can be uprooted – and rooted – at will), higher rates, reduced road construction costs, reduced medical costs from prangs.

I pointed out the massive amount of land to be released along potential lines to Gungahlin and Molonglo, the land sale revenues from which could benefit from such a budget commitment, that a park’n’ride in EPIC could capture a lump of the NSW commuters before they rat-run through Hackett and Ainslie to Civic, etc etc as described on our website, and he did quiet down a bit in his objections. I pushed my usual argument that only a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis would reveal the full extent of these offsets to the costs.

But don’t get me wrong – I don’t claim responsibility for any turnaround. Other Community Council reps there supported the argument, and Joachim from North Canberra suggested the Infrastructure Fund as a funding avenue. And there has been strong recent lobbying from the Canberra Business Council, the Conservation Council, the Greens.

But of course the main credit goes to ACT Light Rail who actually kicked off this renewed push a year or so back.

However at this point the way the matter has been slapped on the agenda in an all-or-nothing way (as backed up by Stanhope’s comments to ABC Radio) inevitably lead one to wonder whether it is merely a ploy to make it go away? I’d like to think not, and that Mr Stanhope has got on board (‘scuse pun).

At the very least he is now on record as stating that light rail would be a good thing for Canberra.

We will be talking with federal reps and relevant ministers to ask them to instead consider the aforementioned cost-benefit analysis, with a view towards a few key initial routes – particularly where land sale revenues or vastly reduced road costs can go some way towards paying for it.

The obvious ones are Brindabella Park, Molonglo and Gungahlin town centre. On the back of today’s CT article about Tralee likely going ahead, I’d suggest that partial funding via a NSW Govt infrastructure levy on the Tralee developer would also see a Tralee/Jerra line on the priority list.

By breaking the proposal down into a staged approach, we may be able to avoid a baby-and-the-bathwater outcome that may or may not be the intent of Wednesday’s announcement.

Mælinar Mælinar 11:16 am 11 Jul 08

I think it would be a great idea to work out how to plug it into either Belconnen interchange, or an alternative Belconnen site, and then build a site with a rail hub, bus hub, and a smegload of secure parking, first.

Either that or Woden, whichever is closer to civic really as the cost of track seems to be the most prohibitive factor in the equation.

In a major coup for Gungahlin, I can also see sense in using the VAST expanse of open land to work out some nuts and bolts before they consider more developed sites, at the same time, giving people an actual good reason to live in Gungahlin.

Thumper Thumper 8:02 am 11 Jul 08

Said Thomas as he trundled along the track. ‘Tis sooch a luverely day…’

tom-tom tom-tom 9:33 pm 10 Jul 08

toot toot

tom-tom tom-tom 9:32 pm 10 Jul 08

big red;

1.)can you explain how the twu and cfmeu pull the strings of ACT labor? from where i’m sitting they have between them 2 tables at the alp state conference (or roughly 5% of the voting power, hardly a dominant force)
2.)Why would the twu be against light rail when it would have to be backed up by a bius system, meaning their members jobs would be unaffected?
3.) ACT Light rail has said numerous times that the twu are not against the idea, any comments?
4.) why would the cfmeu be against light rail? (more construction, good for members etc)
5.) What proof of this conspiracy do you have? (and dont just say your proof is the cfmeu and twu not publicly backing the proposal, thats meaningless, they havent publicly claimed not to be involved in the jfk assaination or faking the moon landings either)
6.)if your conspiracy was true why would stanhope put the idea back on the front page?
7.)If your conspiracy were true why would the twu and cfmeu allow stanhope to do this? surely they’d want the idea on the back burner.
8.) Are you the bloke who runs around garema place yelling about how the goverment stole your thoughts?

in short; light rail wont happen because it’s not its time yet; not cos of some nutbag conspiracy. Put your tin foil hat back on and watch some X files.

bigfeet bigfeet 8:58 pm 10 Jul 08

flying doormat said :

If the Government is having problems getting enough bus drivers to cover the new timetables how are they going to be able to get enough light rail drivers if it ever gets up and going!

What about us brain dead slobs?
You’ll be given cushy jobs
Where you sent here by the devil?
No good man I’m on the level

Pandy Pandy 6:34 pm 10 Jul 08

To all Sunshines, the Feds will not, repeat not, support a light rail spine for Canberra. That is why Stannhope is pushing for a light rail that links the airport to the House on the Hill as he knows there will be more support for it.

1 billion for an orphan light rail network? Sounds about right.

Oh ACT Light rRil was all for building the light rail system to Bungendore 1st.

bigred bigred 6:12 pm 10 Jul 08

Well Stanhope has neutralised light rail as an election issue completely. I wonder if the same stunt will work in the 2012 campaign? The reality is thta the CFMEU and TWU will not allow it and while they pull the puppet strings on ACT Labor you may as well forget about it. I just won’t happen.

If in doubt, check the TWU and CFMEU for their strong public statemeents of support. Guess what? You won”t find any. Toot toot.

heinous heinous 5:55 pm 10 Jul 08

Message to all potential Chief Ministers; If you build a Light Rail system, your name will be immortalised in the history of Canberra forever. There, that should do it!

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