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Capital Metro

By Mark Parton MLA 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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rommeldog56 10:28 pm 26 Jun 14

milkman said :

rommeldog56 said :

jgsma said :

Can hardly wait to have trams that will be able to shave three minutes off the journey from Gungahlin to Civic according to a report in The Canberra Times, p1, June 26, 2014. People of Gungahlin must be very excited.

Oh bother! I forgot that I won’t be using it, just paying for it.

If that is so, then its even more scandalous.

Apart from at the ballot box, I would love to see a system of penalties at the Ministerial level for the failure of such projects (and rewards, where such projects actually work !).

There is just an overwhelming absence of logic and common sense being shown by the ACT Gov’t on the Light Rail proposal. It’s become an obsession – not an example of good Government or responsible fiscal/economic management.

If it weren’t for a Greens balance of power, would we really be pushing forward with this?

As I recall, and I’m sure I’ll be corrected on this, ACT Labor did a backflip on the Light Rail in the run up to the last ACT election.

Maybe they saw the writing on the wall about a potentially hung assembly and it was all about “positioning” post election.

If so, it was a great piece of foresight and politicking by ACT Labor. The Greens got them into power and were duly rewarded. But the residents and Ratepayers of Canberra will go on paying for it.

Who said power corrupts ?

milkman 10:04 pm 26 Jun 14

rommeldog56 said :

jgsma said :

Can hardly wait to have trams that will be able to shave three minutes off the journey from Gungahlin to Civic according to a report in The Canberra Times, p1, June 26, 2014. People of Gungahlin must be very excited.

Oh bother! I forgot that I won’t be using it, just paying for it.

If that is so, then its even more scandalous.

Apart from at the ballot box, I would love to see a system of penalties at the Ministerial level for the failure of such projects (and rewards, where such projects actually work !).

There is just an overwhelming absence of logic and common sense being shown by the ACT Gov’t on the Light Rail proposal. It’s become an obsession – not an example of good Government or responsible fiscal/economic management.

If it weren’t for a Greens balance of power, would we really be pushing forward with this?

rommeldog56 7:09 pm 26 Jun 14

jgsma said :

Can hardly wait to have trams that will be able to shave three minutes off the journey from Gungahlin to Civic according to a report in The Canberra Times, p1, June 26, 2014. People of Gungahlin must be very excited.

Oh bother! I forgot that I won’t be using it, just paying for it.

If that is so, then its even more scandalous.

Apart from at the ballot box, I would love to see a system of penalties at the Ministerial level for the failure of such projects (and rewards, where such projects actually work !).

There is just an overwhelming absence of logic and common sense being shown by the ACT Gov’t on the Light Rail proposal. It’s become an obsession – not an example of good Government or responsible fiscal/economic management.

jgsma 3:58 pm 26 Jun 14

Can hardly wait to have trams that will be able to shave three minutes off the journey from Gungahlin to Civic according to a report in The Canberra Times, p1, June 26, 2014. People of Gungahlin must be very excited.

Oh bother! I forgot that I won’t be using it, just paying for it.

rommeldog56 6:32 pm 08 Jun 14

Looking more like $3,000 for every man, woman and child in Canberra. Ask the good burghers of Tuggeranong whether they’d like to pay $12,000 for the average family, for a light rail in the inner north!

The rail network will be 10-30 times bigger. Does every family want to shell out $120,000-$360,000 for light rail for all of Canberra?

Why should we pay for the inner north when we definitely can’t afford it for everyone?

If the average house prices rise by $360,000 how many people will be able to afford to live in Canberra?

In years to come – and I predict medium term – young single income families, most self funded retirees, people who rent, singles, low-medium income earners, the disabled, etc, simply will not be able to afford to live in Canberra – especially when Annual Rates exceed $5K and start pushing $8K pa. Admittedly, that is some years away yet – but what sort of home ownership future have we “voted” our children into ? Even if the kids inherit the house, will they be able to afford the Annual Rates and the other absurdly high ACT Government charges. Yes, Yes, I know, I know. They should sell the place and buy something smaller. A shoebox perhaps ? Maybe we should force them to do that rather than utilise passive means like 10% avg. Annual Rate increases forcing them out of the home ownership market and interstate.

Even the Annual Rates on townhouses/units will be increasing proportionally.

As a self funded retiree, I will have no choice but to sell up in Canberra and move interstate within 5 years. About then, my Annual Rates will be about $2,700pa. I have worked hard all my life to be self funded in retirement. The worst mistake I have made in my life was to buy a place in Canberra and pay the ACT Govt $21K in stamp duty 3 years ago. If I had of know about the 10% avg. Annual Rates increases over 20 years in the ACT, I certainly would have purchased across the border. Pensions and most peoples wages, certainly do not increase on avg. 10% pa. So, less to spend dampend down demand and economic growth too.

If there is a diminishing workforce here, why would industry move here ? What happens to job creation when workers will need far, far more $ in wages here just to pay Annual Rates and cover loss making infrastructure like the toy train set ??? Obviously, job creation and economic expansion will suffer. So much for broadening the economic base of the ACT. Just keep your eye on the short term Katy Gallagher – well done ! Goose.

gooterz 10:02 pm 07 Jun 14

Masquara said :

rommeldog56 said :

If a “smother ride” is an incentive, maybe with some of the $ saved by scrapping the toy train set, we could get some half decent road resurfacing in this place – hot mix, rather than boulders with tar sprayed over them – would be a good idea perhaps.

Heard Katy Gallagher on Mark Parton’s talkback radio show early Friday morning.

Amongst other clangers/admissions, she said that the M$614 estimate for the toy train set / tram was a 2011 estimate but is today, still being touted by the ACT Government.

Like, they are even too arrogant and concept driven to increase it at least by the CPI each year !

Says it all really.
. The fiu

Looking more like $3,000 for every man, woman and child in Canberra. Ask the good burghers of Tuggeranong whether they’d like to pay $12,000 for the average family, for a light rail in the inner north!

The rail network will be 10-30 times bigger. Does every family want to shell out $120,000-$360,000 for light rail for all of Canberra?

Why should we pay for the inner north when we definitely can’t afford it for everyone?

If the average house prices rise by $360,000 how many people will be able to afford to live in Canberra?

Innovation 9:59 pm 07 Jun 14

davo101 said :

damien haas said :

To answer Mark Partons original question, the Treasurer has ruled out a levy.

http://www.actlightrail.info/2014/06/treasurer-rules-out-levy-to-pay-for.html

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

Seriously? How stupid does Mr Barr think we are? So it’ll be called a fee, charge, rate, or tax but not a levy. Doesn’t matter what it’s called we’re still going to have to pay it.

They wouldn’t have to do that even. They could simply alter the methodology for valuing land and instruct their valuer or legislate accordingly.

Masquara 8:07 pm 07 Jun 14

rommeldog56 said :

If a “smother ride” is an incentive, maybe with some of the $ saved by scrapping the toy train set, we could get some half decent road resurfacing in this place – hot mix, rather than boulders with tar sprayed over them – would be a good idea perhaps.

Heard Katy Gallagher on Mark Parton’s talkback radio show early Friday morning.

Amongst other clangers/admissions, she said that the M$614 estimate for the toy train set / tram was a 2011 estimate but is today, still being touted by the ACT Government.

Like, they are even too arrogant and concept driven to increase it at least by the CPI each year !

Says it all really.
. The fiu

Looking more like $3,000 for every man, woman and child in Canberra. Ask the good burghers of Tuggeranong whether they’d like to pay $12,000 for the average family, for a light rail in the inner north!

rommeldog56 6:59 pm 07 Jun 14

davo101 said :

damien haas said :

To answer Mark Partons original question, the Treasurer has ruled out a levy.

http://www.actlightrail.info/2014/06/treasurer-rules-out-levy-to-pay-for.html

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

Seriously? How stupid does Mr Barr think we are? So it’ll be called a fee, charge, rate, or tax but not a levy. Doesn’t matter what it’s called we’re still going to have to pay it.

Oh, come on Damian ! Surely no one believes what a politician says nowdays – local or federal. Of course they can rule out a “levy” – they will just continue to increase Annual Rates and all other Government charges to pay for this folly. I hope ACT residents get the chance to vote on this issue before any more $ are wasted on it. I can just see it now “Introducing the Minister for the Toy Train Set……..” .

rommeldog56 6:53 pm 07 Jun 14

If a “smother ride” is an incentive, maybe with some of the $ saved by scrapping the toy train set, we could get some half decent road resurfacing in this place – hot mix, rather than boulders with tar sprayed over them – would be a good idea perhaps.

Heard Katy Gallagher on Mark Parton’s talkback radio show early Friday morning. Amongst other clangers/admissions, she said that the M$614 estimate for the toy train set / tram was a 2011 estimate but is today, still being touted by the ACT Government. Like, they are even too arrogant and concept driven to increase it at least by the CPI each year ! Says it all really.
. The fiu

milkman 6:43 pm 07 Jun 14

The benefits, as described by the proponents of light rail, are frankly made up. There are no numbers that support the idea, no hard facts at all.

Build the busway if you must, but please don’t insult our intelligence by pretending that light rail is a compelling, positive idea.

Masquara 5:13 pm 07 Jun 14

Innovation said :

As I understand it:
– the benefits of light rail are: smoother ride, reduces road damage caused by heavy buses, possible tourism value from attraction of light rail, ability to carry bulky items such as bicycles on board; possible improved safety
– the benefits of buses are: lower infrastructure costs, allows future route changes if needed, allows bus infrastructure to be more fully utilised (ie assets are used before obsolescence).

.

You’re wrong about buses causing road damage. They aren’t that heavy. It’s trucks transporting goods that cause damage to roads.

Not sure that “smoother ride” warrants a few thousand dollars per head of the ACT population to achieve.

Doubt whether tourists will be excited about taking light rail from Civic to Gungahlin – and they won’t be staying in Gungahlin – oh, wait a seccy – isn’t there a hotel somewhere in Gungahlin? Well, those tourists would probably be quite happy to catch a bus.

“Ability to carry heavy items such as cycles on board” – um, besides cyclists boarding the cycles, who will be carting heavy items on board light rail? Everyone else will be on foot before they board! Not sure that “transporting cyclists” will be much of a sell to ACT ratepayers as an argument for footing this massive (pre-blowout calculations) bill.

Any other benefits you can quote there?

davo101 4:14 pm 07 Jun 14

damien haas said :

To answer Mark Partons original question, the Treasurer has ruled out a levy.

http://www.actlightrail.info/2014/06/treasurer-rules-out-levy-to-pay-for.html

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

Seriously? How stupid does Mr Barr think we are? So it’ll be called a fee, charge, rate, or tax but not a levy. Doesn’t matter what it’s called we’re still going to have to pay it.

Innovation 1:39 pm 07 Jun 14

Damien (or anyone else pro light rail)… I’ve always been a fence sitter re rail vs bus but I have been puzzled why the pro rail arguments are not made more clearly.

As I understand it:
– the benefits of light rail are: smoother ride, reduces road damage caused by heavy buses, possible tourism value from attraction of light rail, ability to carry bulky items such as bicycles on board; possible improved safety
– the benefits of buses are: lower infrastructure costs, allows future route changes if needed, allows bus infrastructure to be more fully utilised (ie assets are used before obsolescence).

Debatable benefits include energy efficiency (eg if gas or battery powered buses are used vs coal fired electricity for rail), faster (this would appear to be more of a question of road/intersection design), quieter (presumably gas or battery buses would be similarly quiet), faster loading and offloading (if bus stations were designed better multi articulated buses could use all doors also), passenger numbers (eg around 220 vs 200 for multi articulated buses doesn’t seem like a substantial difference).

On balance light rail would be great but the cost seems too large and the risk of the service being underutilised too great. I suspect too many people have a romanticised idea of how light rail will solve everything when their problem is current bus routes, regularity of services, buses incapable of carrying large passenger numbers, road and intersection design and employment conditions for drivers.

I covered off in a previous post on this thread how some simple road rule and sign changes along Northbourne and possible redesign of about three intersections would probably solve the greatest problems getting to and from Civic in the North (even if light rail is built something is going to have to be done about all of the intersections en route). A handful of multi articulated buses and, if employment conditions can’t be tightened, outsourcing the Gungahlin to Civic direct bus route would be a far cheaper experiment than rushing into light rail.

The Government’s idea to dramatically increase infrastructure along corridors is great and should be done no matter what. However, I don’t think that they have done enough to test other ideas yet before rushing into light rail.

damien haas 11:50 am 07 Jun 14

To answer Mark Partons original question, the Treasurer has ruled out a levy.

http://www.actlightrail.info/2014/06/treasurer-rules-out-levy-to-pay-for.html

Damien Haas
Chair, ACT Light Rail

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