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Chic Henry and the tram to nowhere?

Mike Jeffreys 19 April 2016 110

light rail artist impression

I’ve had a couple of long conversations with Summernats’ Chic Henry, who is tossing up whether to run in the 2016 ACT election.

He told me that the Liberals want him to stand but one of the reasons he hasn’t yet committed is his age. If he were fifteen years younger he’d have no hesitation, but as it is he’s unsure.

He will make a decision by September or October to leave himself time to do what’s needed, including grass roots pre-election work like knocking on doors.

Chic has quite a lot to say about the light rail plan and the possible closure of EPIC:

“There is more value in promoting the very notion of electric cars, trucks and buses in Canberra to support the clean future.

It was moving along for a while and stalled and as usual, unless people of some consequence drive it, it dies. The late Chris Peters had that vision.

A tram to the airport is wasted effort. There is not likely to be enough housing to support it and as for increased tourist visits, the sun may rise in the west before that time.

Canberra airport has great value as a freight hub especially if a VFT is to ever come to us. On another subject, the MAGLEV Consortium had the best plan, as it was to go towards the Snowy Mountains as a route to Melbourne. Good value in that.

If the proposed light rail for Canberra is to be built, the Community deserves to be shown the extent of the network, especially the proposed corridors. Without doubt, we can expect that Civic will be the hub from which all lines will radiate, with connections to Woden and the Valley, Belconnen and Gungahlin of course.

Consideration must be given to the Parliamentary Triangle, Russell, the Airport, Fyshwick and maybe even Queanbeyan.

These corridors and the supporting bus networks must be presented if we are to believe that the Canberra Community could realistically catch the light rail instead of using their cars.

Such corridors will naturally include bridges, overpasses and possible a tunnel somewhere as well as the resumption of specific real estate.

For example, a line through or close by to the Triangle going towards the Tuggeranong Valley will face two major obstacles, the first being our precious lake and the second, the hill on which Parliament House is built.

Let’s consider the bridge, the cost, the land and the public outcry. Right now we are hearing that the cost of Stage 1 is $800 mil or thereabouts.

Guaranteed it will go north of that and it’s on relatively flat ground.

Imagine what the next stage/s will cost.

We are hearing that EPIC may close and the land dedicated to housing. It is without doubt, valuable real estate but where will EPIC be then located?

What might be the cost of such relocation plus the cost of a suitable patch of ground?

Seriously, it is inconceivable that Canberra does not have a showground, especially one as amazingly multi-purpose as EPIC.

We are led to believe that we, as a community, have above average intelligence.

It is immensely important to visualise the future for town planners, so why not give us the big planning picture with reasonable costing and a time frame.

Just maybe, we might get it. Sadly though, we must suffer the political games that parties play.

The late Martin Luther King once said, ‘I have a dream’.

Chic Henry, proud Canberra resident, says ‘I have a fear. A fear that Capital Metro Stage 1 may be the tram to nowhere as the only stage ever built’”.


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110 Responses to Chic Henry and the tram to nowhere?
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Skyring Skyring 4:14 pm 03 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

Skyring said :

Chic Henry makes some good points about crossing the lake and traversing hills to extend the network. Another bridge over the lake would be expensive and would be necessary as rail vehicles have difficulty operating on gradients steeper than 1 in 30.

It is hard to think of a feasible route from Civic to Belconnen or Woden which does not involve either gradients steeper than this or extensive engineering, such as tunnels.

Making up non-existent obstacles is always a good way of handling a debate.

There is nowhere an impassable gradient anywhere in Canberra. If Austria and Switzerland can cope surely we can.

Light rail can very easily cross the lake between the spans of both the Commonwealth and King George bridges.

Mountainous nations in Europe run steep railways, for sure, but not with steel wheels on steel rails. They use racks and cogs.

Carrying a tram line between the spans of the Commonwealth and Kings Avenue bridges would be expensive, and the line would have to be level. Ascending the slope along either avenue in the direction of Capital Hill would be more than is possible for light rail. Unless we go for the racks and cogs, and then we’re talking double the price.

Skyring Skyring 4:04 pm 03 Mar 15

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that buses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

If we had buses running along the route, completely packed and struggling to cope, then light rail might be an answer.

But I invite all to check to largely empty state of buses traveling down Northbourne.

dungfungus dungfungus 4:04 pm 03 Mar 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

dungfungus said :

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

In the ACT, common sense is a distant third to visionary and vibrancy.

It has to be like Copenhagen. Or Switzerland. Or somewhere in Europe.

More likely “Gay Paris”.

Skyring Skyring 4:00 pm 03 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

Skyring said :

rubaiyat said :

Didn’t stop the Liberals building a billion dollar Parliament House on the Hill back when a billion wasn’t loose change…

This would be the Parliament House opened in 1988 by the government led by Bob Hawke, midway through his second term?

As a Liberal, apparently.

This would be the Parliament House started by Fraser in 1978 in his second term.

As a Liberal apparently.

The point, as others have grasped, is that both sides supported the project and the decade it took to complete was five years Liberal, five Labor.

This project is supported by one side only, doesn’t have the support of the people behind it, and if we’re talking Gungahlin Drive Extension as an example of local projects, will never be completed.

Solidarity Solidarity 3:54 pm 03 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

The capital cost of a car is a lot less than $30,000 (average). I have only paid more than $30,000 for a new car once in my life.
Cars have never been cheaper and this is why bus travel is diminishing. Cars are also very fuel efficient and a lot cleaner running than they were 20 years ago. Then there is the convenience factor.
Buses are ideal for mass transit and they are more flexible than trams.
Anyhow, you can’t compare private expenditure on cars to that of government expenditure on public transport.

All I can say is look around you in Canberra that $30,00 would be the average, irregardless of what you choose.

Cars are cheaper but operating them is not. It is that simple “ink jet printer” thinking that is distorting rational decisions.

How much does that 2 or 3 car garage that seems to be an essential part of e3very house, now, cost? That is not getting cheaper. Neither are the roads and infrastructure needed to make cars possible.

Buses are dirty, noisy and have short lives. Can’t put a figure on how frequently ACTION has to replace theirs but it is a lot less than 10 years even for the average car. They also do a massive amount of damage to the roads. I personally tripped over a massive bitumen wave they pushed up in Civic opposite the Assembly building.

Buses also require a lot of drivers which the ACT is short of and is the cause why ACTION buses sometimes don’t even show up.

Yes we can compare private expenditure on cars to government expenditure on public transport, because besides the irrational personal choices, the government is blowing a lot on keeping those cars on the road.

Just because you don’t know and don’t pay attention to road costs doesn’t mean it isn’t transport costs. And unlike public transport the government doesn’t charge for the roads.

Lets see what people’s choices would be if they had to pay a “pedestrian rego” and then get to travel free everywhere for whatever it costs them in shoes and socks.

Can you stop making stuff up, that is not even aimed at your use of the word “irregardless”.

FWIW, some of the buses were a 1988 delivery…

VYBerlinaV8_is_back VYBerlinaV8_is_back 3:09 pm 03 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

In the ACT, common sense is a distant third to visionary and vibrancy.

It has to be like Copenhagen. Or Switzerland. Or somewhere in Europe.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 2:33 pm 03 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

The capital cost of a car is a lot less than $30,000 (average). I have only paid more than $30,000 for a new car once in my life.
Cars have never been cheaper and this is why bus travel is diminishing. Cars are also very fuel efficient and a lot cleaner running than they were 20 years ago. Then there is the convenience factor.
Buses are ideal for mass transit and they are more flexible than trams.
Anyhow, you can’t compare private expenditure on cars to that of government expenditure on public transport.

All I can say is look around you in Canberra that $30,00 would be the average, irregardless of what you choose.

Cars are cheaper but operating them is not. It is that simple “ink jet printer” thinking that is distorting rational decisions.

How much does that 2 or 3 car garage that seems to be an essential part of e3very house, now, cost? That is not getting cheaper. Neither are the roads and infrastructure needed to make cars possible.

Buses are dirty, noisy and have short lives. Can’t put a figure on how frequently ACTION has to replace theirs but it is a lot less than 10 years even for the average car. They also do a massive amount of damage to the roads. I personally tripped over a massive bitumen wave they pushed up in Civic opposite the Assembly building.

Buses also require a lot of drivers which the ACT is short of and is the cause why ACTION buses sometimes don’t even show up.

Yes we can compare private expenditure on cars to government expenditure on public transport, because besides the irrational personal choices, the government is blowing a lot on keeping those cars on the road.

Just because you don’t know and don’t pay attention to road costs doesn’t mean it isn’t transport costs. And unlike public transport the government doesn’t charge for the roads.

Lets see what people’s choices would be if they had to pay a “pedestrian rego” and then get to travel free everywhere for whatever it costs them in shoes and socks.

dungfungus dungfungus 1:35 pm 03 Mar 15

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

switch said :

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

In the ACT, common sense is a distant third to visionary and vibrancy.

dungfungus dungfungus 1:27 pm 03 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

Here’s a quick calculation for all you financial wizards out there:

Vehicles registered in ACT in 2014 was 279,352 with an average capital cost of say $30,000.

That’s a capital investment of $8.4 billion dollars mostly either sitting in your driveway or the $30,000 garage to house it (add another $8.4 billion) before it even starts burning fuel, costing registration, insurance and maintenance. You can add a considerable health bill on top of that now.

Virtually all of that money is going overseas.

So what is clear this isn’t a “need” it is an irrational obsession, reinforced by an extreme never ending marketing campaign by everyone who can make a buck out of getting your lard arse in the drivers seat and then selling you diets, drugs and cures to get the lard off. A funeral service when they all fail, or you total the car or someone, with the car.

The capital cost of a car is a lot less than $30,000 (average). I have only paid more than $30,000 for a new car once in my life.
Cars have never been cheaper and this is why bus travel is diminishing. Cars are also very fuel efficient and a lot cleaner running than they were 20 years ago. Then there is the convenience factor.
Buses are ideal for mass transit and they are more flexible than trams.
Anyhow, you can’t compare private expenditure on cars to that of government expenditure on public transport.

switch switch 11:56 am 03 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

It isn’t public transport per se, it is the fact that busses could do what the tram is offering for about half the price. A report that came out last year shows that, along with common sense.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 11:50 am 03 Mar 15

aussie2 said :

We already own ACTION yet subsidise it to the tune of $140m pa. TAMS sent me the network map and there are eight routes on it including Gungahlin. That Gungahlin route is expected to cost $1Billion capital, not including ongoing maintenance. Including the other seven, there are 153km of Light rail. Divide that by 12km, and you get 13 “packets” of tracks times $1Billion. Divide that by approx. 250 000 taxpayers that will contribute to the cost of the network, and run that over the life of the project-30years, equates to around $65K or $2200 increase in taxes pa. Then you have to add the maintenance costs. There was no mention of this kind of money at the 2012 Election, and THEY don’t want any sort of referendum.Keep in mind, we own ACTION but SOMEONE has to payback the contractor for his investment-GUESS WHO?

Let’s simply compare this to my quick calculation of the $16.8 billion tied up in cars just in the ACT, and that is without any of the running costs or the massively greater cost of the roads which are totally subsidised by the government you do not have to pay a toll anywhere in the ACT or surrounds.

Given the calculated 68¢ per km running cost from Gungahlin to the city will cost you $17.32 return plus at least $10 parking.

For the mathematically challenged that is at least $27.32 to go to work and back. Add the extra kilometres from where you actually live and it is closer to $35.

So without calculating the massive cost of all the roads (because no-one seems to have bothered recording them) just the cars are costing each and every Canberran, man woman and child, $44,038 in capital costs, PLUS the running costs.

Cars have a far shorter life compared with trams and the light rail infrastructure, so need to be replaced at least every 10 years if not sooner according to abs. They also require far more maintenance and take up a large part of the area of our cities. A disproportionate area of all commercial and residential buildings is taken up with car access and parking, plus the mechanical engineering to rid the building of the car fumes.

Practically all the cars and fuel have to be imported, soon to be all. So this is all money flowing out of Australia. To pay for all of that we are forced to export vast amounts of coal and minerals.

Of course you could look at the overall problem of getting people from A to B rationally, but that isn’t going to happen on any side of this debate.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 11:14 am 03 Mar 15

$27 million didn’t even pay for that one intersection at Russell.

Given the rates we pay the ACT government can certainly do some public transport for our money.

Public transport that isn’t a total financial loss like the roads.

Why do people struggle with simple comparisons?

Is it the maths? Having to add up anything bigger than the cost of a bus fare?

Garfield Garfield 11:06 am 03 Mar 15

OK, there are a few points I need to make.

dungfungus:
Fraser was a moderate Liberal and is still a moderate Liberal but left the party because it became too conservative in his eyes. That does not mean he has left-wing political beliefs.

rubaiyat:
When you refer to each vehicle on a road costing the taxpayer $30-50,000, I’m assuming that you’re saying that the taxpayer will need to spend that much to buy their car and not that the government will need to spend that much in tax revenue for each vehicle that uses the road. If that’s correct, you’re doubling up the capital costs as the ATO cents per km rate also includes the cost of buying the car. If not, can you please explain how the government has to spend $30-50,000 for each car that uses a road after it has been constructed.

rubaiyat:
The tram, after factoring in the return on capital and running costs, will cost $70-100m p.a. Around 7% of Canberrans might live within walking distance, so scaling it up to cover all of Canberra would provide a replacement public transport system for only $1000-1428m p.a. compared to Action’s cost to the taxpayer of $140m p.a. Even if the construction was magically paid for and we only had to worry about the running costs of $23m p.a., when scaled up to cover the whole city it would still cost more than double what the busses are costing us. There have to be better uses for the money. How about a new hospital, a new convention centre, the transformative city to the lake project or even something boring like building up some financial reserves for the ACT after the big and growing deficits of this Labor/Greens government so that we have funds available to meet unexpected contingencies.

rigseismic67 rigseismic67 10:56 am 03 Mar 15

Yes but if the cost of vehicle registration combined in the ACT is approx $27 million the government can certainly do some road works for our money.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 10:42 am 03 Mar 15

Here’s a quick calculation for all you financial wizards out there:

Vehicles registered in ACT in 2014 was 279,352 with an average capital cost of say $30,000.

That’s a capital investment of $8.4 billion dollars mostly either sitting in your driveway or the $30,000 garage to house it (add another $8.4 billion) before it even starts burning fuel, costing registration, insurance and maintenance. You can add a considerable health bill on top of that now.

Virtually all of that money is going overseas.

So what is clear this isn’t a “need” it is an irrational obsession, reinforced by an extreme never ending marketing campaign by everyone who can make a buck out of getting your lard arse in the drivers seat and then selling you diets, drugs and cures to get the lard off. A funeral service when they all fail, or you total the car or someone, with the car.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 10:27 am 03 Mar 15

Don’t forget all the other double standards: like Light Rail only really gets used during peak hours, UNLIKE roads!

…and public transport isn’t full in off peak, UNLIKE all the one occupant cars you see clogging up the roads and filling up the delightful car parks.

Worse, Light Rail does a really poor job of killing people, unlike cars which if they don’t run you over slowly kill their occupants with lack of exercise, and everyone with their pollution.

rubaiyat rubaiyat 10:18 am 03 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

Skyring said :

dungfungus said :

Skyring said :

rubaiyat said :

Didn’t stop the Liberals building a billion dollar Parliament House on the Hill back when a billion wasn’t loose change…

This would be the Parliament House opened in 1988 by the government led by Bob Hawke, midway through his second term?

As a Liberal, apparently.

I think building commenced under the Fraser government (Fraser was then a Liberal, now a lefty) and of course it was a unanimous decision by all parties and stakeholders to go ahead. Even journalists were provided with a meditation room.
The final cost was $1.4 billion dollars.

It was a bipartisan thing.

Which this tram thing isn’t. Public opinion seems to be firmly against it. Can’t think of anyone in Tuggeranong keen to see their rates go up to pay for this thing.

It’s too late to complain about Labor’s rates increasing as that was voted on in the 2012 election.
Labor and the media repudiated the suggestion by the Liberals that our rates would triple.
Just two years later it is clear that the Liberals were correct.
I know it sounds corny but we really do have the government we deserve.

YOUR rates tripled? I’d get a lawsuit out for discrimination!

rubaiyat rubaiyat 10:15 am 03 Mar 15

dungfungus said :

Those three road projects you nominated were actually needed.
A light rail anywhere in Canberra isn’t needed.

Says who?

That is the nub of the problem. People spend enormous amounts of money buying, housing, parking and running cars then when they sit in traffic jams burning up fossil fuels, working on their personal obessity and listening to yell back radio, they scream at their politicians:

“We NEED more roads!”

rubaiyat rubaiyat 10:11 am 03 Mar 15

Notice how cleverly I demonstrated those “missing millions” 😀

As an add on how do the people of Tuggeranong feel about the cost of roads in the Majura Valley, Gughalin, Molonglo, Russell, Cotter or anywhere that isn’t at the end of their driveway?

Or the people in Gunghalin for roadworks in Tuggeranong?

dungfungus dungfungus 10:08 am 03 Mar 15

rubaiyat said :

aussie2 said :

We already own ACTION yet subsidise it to the tune of $140m pa. TAMS sent me the network map and there are eight routes on it including Gungahlin. That Gungahlin route is expected to cost $1Billion capital, not including ongoing maintenance. Including the other seven, there are 153km of Light rail. Divide that by 12km, and you get 13 “packets” of tracks times $1Billion. Divide that by approx. 250 000 taxpayers that will contribute to the cost of the network, and run that over the life of the project-30years, equates to around $65K or $2200 increase in taxes pa. Then you have to add the maintenance costs. There was no mention of this kind of money at the 2012 Election, and THEY don’t want any sort of referendum.Keep in mind, we own ACTION but SOMEONE has to payback the contractor for his investment-GUESS WHO?

How much do you think the roads cost?

The Majura Parkway is only 11.5 kms and is costing $288 and will lose money from day one, as has every road in the ACT. We do not have tollways.

Further to operate vehicles on it will cost the taxpayers $30-50,000 for each vehicle. Personal operating costs are on top of that but according to the taxation department around 68¢ km so will cost each driver $7.82 to drive from one end to the other.

The tiny 1.7km Cotter Road duplication is costing $18 million and taken years.

The Kings Avenue overpass at Russell cost $30 million and took 2 years.

Obviously all these wildly expensive projects to mainly move people from and to work in the morning and evening peak hours has driven the ACT to the brink of bankruptcy and will mean we will have to sell our children and grandchildren into slavery.

Thankfully the ‘fiscally responsible’ Liberals are standing ready to throw out any government that suggests they will build ANY roads or car parks in the ACT. Especially as they will all need to be built overhead, will need new bridges and tunnels to traverse our extreme geography, and will cause unsightly signage and traffic lights along their routes.

Those three road projects you nominated were actually needed.
A light rail anywhere in Canberra isn’t needed.

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