14 March 2017

Gain worth the pain as light rail construction ramps up

| Charlotte
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Gold Coast light rail rushes past. Photo: Charlotte Harper

This year, Canberrans who live and commute along what will be the light rail route between Civic and Gungahlin are the have nots and the rest of us the haves, but once construction is completed, those roles will be reversed for good.

Residents and workers in the Inner North and Gungahlin will be affected all year by works associated with the mammoth construction project, from lane closures on Flemington Road to changes to traffic flow in the Gungahlin Town Centre and cycleway and bus diversions (see the latest update on changes below).

The rest of us will feel smug as we cruise through our daily commutes, but it won’t last. Come 2018, when the light rail comes online, all the upheaval will be forgotten, as those who live on or near the route become the haves to us have nots.

Gold Coast light rail rushes in. Photo: Charlotte Harper

They’ll be wandering down to their nearest light rail stop, tapping on and sitting down to read a book or listen to a podcast while they enjoy a smooth ride on state of the art public transport to their destination.

Gold Coast light rail passenger with backpack. Photo: Charlotte Harper

The rest of us will be sitting in traffic or at a bus stop wondering whether we’ve missed our bus and will have to wait another 25 minutes for the next one, while the light rail commuters will have certainty and stress free travel.

Gold Coast light rail on approach. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Similarly, those of us who are whinging now about the loss of trees and the fact that tourists arriving via Northbourne are greeted by the city’s lengthiest construction site will in time appreciate the fact that our primary gateway will feature our most modern and high tech public infrastructure at its heart. Contemporary landscaping and the renewal of fading urban developments along the route will add to the buzz after decades of living with a tired-looking entrance to the city.

Gold Coast light rail stop. Photo: Charlotte Harper

You may not agree now, but I reckon in a couple of years, you’ll have forgotten all the inconvenience and construction mess and either moved to the light rail catchment or be kicking yourself for locking yourself in elsewhere.

Canberrans will be scrambling to move to or invest in a suburb along the route as the project nears completion – or looking ahead to the Woden link and considering apartments there or houses in suburbs like Curtin, Deakin or Yarralumla. Property prices have already risen in these areas, but will boom as the infrastructure becomes a reality.

Not convinced? Try commuting from the suburbs to the city in Sydney during peak hour. There’s a reason everyone tries to live on a train, ferry or light rail line in the harbour city. Cars are a passport to hell. If you can live without one, you will.

Gold Coast light rail – updates. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Or spend an afternoon on the light rail at the Gold Coast. We visited a few months back and were amazed at the impact this project has had on the concrete jungle that is Surfers Paradise. The tram stops are bright and modern, transforming the precinct from its 1970s origins and providing a seamless link between it and the neighbouring towns. We travelled from end to end just because we could. The kids loved it. I loved it. As you can see from the images illustrating this article, I took more photos of the tramlines and trams than we did of the dolphins and penguins at Seaworld.

The Gold Coast tram has been even more successful than its planners had hoped, with more than 14 million people riding “the G” in its first two years to mid-2016, for an average of more than 20,000 trips per day.

Gold Coast light rail stop. Photo: Charlotte Harper

The tram is going to transform this town, helping it along on its journey from bush capital to world city.

We can bear the pain for the gain. Yes we can, Canberra.

Gold Coast light rail – tapping on. Photo: Charlotte Harper

FLEMINGTON ROAD CHANGES

Long-term lane closures on Flemington Road, primarily around Mitchell, between the Federal Highway and Wells Station Drive, commence March 17 and will continue till December to allow the widening of the road to accommodate the new light rail alignment. Signed detours will be in place but if motorists can, they should consider taking alternate routes in and out of Gungahlin (see below).

• Just north of Sandford Street to south of Well Station Drive, contraflow arrangement will be implemented where both southbound and northbound traffic will be realigned on the section of road currently used for two lanes of southbound traffic only. Traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction.
• Randwick Road to Sandford Street – Northbound traffic reduced to one lane.
• Federal Highway to north of Sandford Street – The southbound bus lane will be closed with buses directed onto the remaining single southbound traffic lane.
• Access to Lysaght intersection will also be closed due to the contraflow arrangement and signed detours will be in place to redirect traffic.
• Access to the businesses on Flemington Road via the slip road between Sandford Street and Lysaght Street will remain open.

SUGGESTED DIVERSION FOR MOTORISTS

• From City to Gungahlin via Barton Highway and Gungahlin Drive
• From City to Gungahlin via Barton Highway, Gundaroo Drive and/or Gungahlin Drive
• From Federal Highway to Gungahlin via Horse Park Drive and Anthony Rolfe Avenue

GUNGAHLIN TOWN CENTRE CHANGES

Hibberson Street in the Gungahlin Town Centre will be closing to vehicular traffic from April 10 between Kate Crace Street and Gungahlin Place, with bus services diverted outside of Hibberson Street.

Construction of the new bus interchange for Gungahlin will begin in April and is expected to be completed in December.

BUS CHANGES

#The following stops will be closed during this work:
• Stops 4927 and 4928 on Flemington Road near Randwick Road

Bus stops will remain open at both Exhibition Park and Mitchell. These stops are:
• 4751: Flemington Rd Exhibition Park
• 4752: Flemington Rd opp Exhibition Park
• 6036: Flemington Rd after Sandford St
• 6037: Flemington Rd after Lysaght St

Flemington Road will remain the major bus corridor for the duration of these works.

CYCLEWAY CHANGES

Cyclists should note that the southbound shared path adjacent to EPIC will be closed.

The following lanes will be made available for cyclists:
• Both northbound and southbound on-road cycle lanes between Federal Highway and Sandford Street.
• Off-road cycle path between Sandford Street and Well Station Drive, adjacent to Flemington Road southbound lane.

MORE INFORMATION

Visit www.transport.act.gov.au for more detail on the changes and to see maps.
For up-to-date information on road closures please call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or visit www.tccs.act.gov.au
Canberrans can also subscribe to a weekly construction update by visiting the Transport Canberra website.

Do you think we'll all forget the inconvenience of the construction stage once the light rail comes online?

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Gold Coast light rail tracks. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Pictured above are various views of the Gold Coast light rail. Photos: Charlotte Harper

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ChrisinTurner said :

The ongoing Light Rail Stage 2 public consultations are being hampered by the reluctance of Transport Canberra to disclose travel time estimates for the government’s four route options. This is frustrating as transit popularity is very dependent on speed and frequency. For example, the Minister’s policy report “Transport For Canberra 2012-2031” mentions the word ‘rapid’ 70 times and defines ‘rapid’ as a target of 40 km/hr average operating speed (AOS).

The Blue Rapid bus currently takes 12 minutes between Civic and Woden (60 km/hr AOS) using a dedicated transit lane. If the tram replacement matches the optimistic average speeds announced for Gungahlin Stage 1 (32 km/hr AOS), the most direct (1b) route should take the tram about 22 minutes. The longer (2b) route proposal, that people are apparently preferring, through Parkes, Barton and Forrest, could add a further 10 minutes, depending on the number of stops, tight corners and street-car operation along National Circuit and King George Terrace.

Passengers currently travelling between Civic and Woden/Tuggeranong by public transport face a possible 20 minutes increase in travel time, which they could solve by either moving back to car travel or by demanding retention of the Blue Rapid bus along the existing route.

Of course, the gap between bus times along the route and proposed light rail times would narrow significantly if the buses actually adhered to the speed limits for the roads traversed. I never feel comfortable when travelling at close to 90 km/h on an articulated bus with 100 other innocents.

Also comparisons with car travel need to include door to door times, not in and out of car door times.

ChrisinTurner5:25 pm 25 May 17

The ongoing Light Rail Stage 2 public consultations are being hampered by the reluctance of Transport Canberra to disclose travel time estimates for the government’s four route options. This is frustrating as transit popularity is very dependent on speed and frequency. For example, the Minister’s policy report “Transport For Canberra 2012-2031” mentions the word ‘rapid’ 70 times and defines ‘rapid’ as a target of 40 km/hr average operating speed (AOS).

The Blue Rapid bus currently takes 12 minutes between Civic and Woden (60 km/hr AOS) using a dedicated transit lane. If the tram replacement matches the optimistic average speeds announced for Gungahlin Stage 1 (32 km/hr AOS), the most direct (1b) route should take the tram about 22 minutes. The longer (2b) route proposal, that people are apparently preferring, through Parkes, Barton and Forrest, could add a further 10 minutes, depending on the number of stops, tight corners and street-car operation along National Circuit and King George Terrace.

Passengers currently travelling between Civic and Woden/Tuggeranong by public transport face a possible 20 minutes increase in travel time, which they could solve by either moving back to car travel or by demanding retention of the Blue Rapid bus along the existing route.

We should rejoice that we are going to show Melbourne how to run a tram network.: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-19/melbourne-trams-among-slowest-in-the-world/8541228

Anyone who believed that this project would be completed on budget, think again.
Transport Canberra, now claiming the deal is about “public transport” and not “urban renewal” are advertising for more people and they are all probably six figure salaries for out-of-towners. Note they are “career” jobs. That means recurring cost.

http://jobs-apac.hudson.com/en-au/transport-canberra-light-rail-career-opportunities-canberra-128365/

JC said :

dungfungus said :

I have just received my latest edition of Track and Signal (www.trackandsignal.com) and have read a most comprehensive covering of the Light Rail 2017 conference held at Surfers Paradise on 21-22 February 2017.

Among the delegates attending, according to the report by Rosalea Ryan, was Duncan Edghill, deputy director-general of Transport Canberra who started his allocated time for addressing the gathering asking the question “Why do light rail in Canberra?”

He then answered his own question by answering “For us it’s not about public transport; it’s about urban regeneration”

I might be wrong, but I always thought the light rail was about providing public transport but obviously, like a lot of other Canberrans I was wrong.

He also confirmed that when the current project (city to Gungahlin) was completed in the second half of 2018, stage two – a “complementary” line from City to Woden in the south, would enter procurement “at a similar time”.

Once again, I thought we were told the Woden stage wouldn’t start until after the 2020 election.

I feel some explanations are required.

The start date for stage 2 was not announced either way before the election.

What was said is “the government is keen to ensure there is minimal delay between the stages to ensure its employment pipeline continues.”

And I am impressed you read Track and Signal and presumably subscribe. You have gone up in my estimations.

What was quoted as being said in Track & Signal was as I said so don’t suggest it was something else.

Yes, I do subscribe to Track & Signal – I may be a rail enthusiast but I also know what spin is.

dungfungus said :

I have just received my latest edition of Track and Signal (www.trackandsignal.com) and have read a most comprehensive covering of the Light Rail 2017 conference held at Surfers Paradise on 21-22 February 2017.

Among the delegates attending, according to the report by Rosalea Ryan, was Duncan Edghill, deputy director-general of Transport Canberra who started his allocated time for addressing the gathering asking the question “Why do light rail in Canberra?”

He then answered his own question by answering “For us it’s not about public transport; it’s about urban regeneration”

I might be wrong, but I always thought the light rail was about providing public transport but obviously, like a lot of other Canberrans I was wrong.

He also confirmed that when the current project (city to Gungahlin) was completed in the second half of 2018, stage two – a “complementary” line from City to Woden in the south, would enter procurement “at a similar time”.

Once again, I thought we were told the Woden stage wouldn’t start until after the 2020 election.

I feel some explanations are required.

The start date for stage 2 was not announced either way before the election.

What was said is “the government is keen to ensure there is minimal delay between the stages to ensure its employment pipeline continues.”

And I am impressed you read Track and Signal and presumably subscribe. You have gone up in my estimations.

I have just received my latest edition of Track and Signal (www.trackandsignal.com) and have read a most comprehensive covering of the Light Rail 2017 conference held at Surfers Paradise on 21-22 February 2017.

Among the delegates attending, according to the report by Rosalea Ryan, was Duncan Edghill, deputy director-general of Transport Canberra who started his allocated time for addressing the gathering asking the question “Why do light rail in Canberra?”

He then answered his own question by answering “For us it’s not about public transport; it’s about urban regeneration”

I might be wrong, but I always thought the light rail was about providing public transport but obviously, like a lot of other Canberrans I was wrong.

He also confirmed that when the current project (city to Gungahlin) was completed in the second half of 2018, stage two – a “complementary” line from City to Woden in the south, would enter procurement “at a similar time”.

Once again, I thought we were told the Woden stage wouldn’t start until after the 2020 election.

I feel some explanations are required.

Southerly_views said :

Regarding the comment by Dungfungus…..Be careful what you wish for in the way of cable cars and gondolas. I remember times in the past when there were optimistic mutterings about cable cars up Mt Stromlo and Mt Ainslie. This government just may resurrect the idea.

They don’t need to resurrect the idea, they are included in the Stromlo forest park master plan.

Southerly_views5:21 pm 27 Mar 17

Regarding the comment by Dungfungus…..Be careful what you wish for in the way of cable cars and gondolas. I remember times in the past when there were optimistic mutterings about cable cars up Mt Stromlo and Mt Ainslie. This government just may resurrect the idea.

KentFitch said :

JC said :

KentFitch said :

But that is not the case. The budget is in deficit, there is no $939m under the mattress, and the future tram payments must be met from future income. How much future income will be set aside is the relevant question, to which the answer is “if the rate of inflation averages 2.2% AND there are no cost overruns, $1.3billion must be set aside”.

Future income that will increase over time, essentially inline with the increases in yearly payments. Except for a few years where they are higher due to mid life refurbishment and extra maintenance.

So no don’t need that money now, and no it doesn’t have to be put into an interest bearing account. Yes it has to be found year in year out, just like every other operating expense the territory has.

There is an accepted way to quantify this, and it is to deflate future dollars to current dollars. Perhaps it is conceptually easier to look at just one year ahead (and use induction to generalise to further years ahead).

Accepted, accepted by who?

The method the government uses is quite a valid method for long term projects, though I get it it doesn’t suit your anti light rail stance.

JC said :

KentFitch said :

But that is not the case. The budget is in deficit, there is no $939m under the mattress, and the future tram payments must be met from future income. How much future income will be set aside is the relevant question, to which the answer is “if the rate of inflation averages 2.2% AND there are no cost overruns, $1.3billion must be set aside”.

Future income that will increase over time, essentially inline with the increases in yearly payments. Except for a few years where they are higher due to mid life refurbishment and extra maintenance.

So no don’t need that money now, and no it doesn’t have to be put into an interest bearing account. Yes it has to be found year in year out, just like every other operating expense the territory has.

There is an accepted way to quantify this, and it is to deflate future dollars to current dollars. Perhaps it is conceptually easier to look at just one year ahead (and use induction to generalise to further years ahead). Imagine you had to budget for your income and expenditure in a year’s time and generate a nominal (future year) dollar value for next year’s budget. How would you anticipate next year’s nominal dollar income and expenditure? For income, (if you are a wage earner at least) you may use the latest ABS wage price index, which reports a 1.9% seasonally adjusted increase for the year to Dec 2016, and anticipate that next year it will be about the same. For expenditure, you may use the ABS CPI index which shows a 1.5% increase over the same period, and anticipate that the next year it will be about the same. Note, none of these figures is anything like 7.52%!

So, if your income was $1000 this year, you could reasonably assume it will be 1.9% more next year: $1019. And if your expenditure was was $800, you could reasonably assume it will be 1.5% more next year: $812. That is how you’d construct your next year’s budget.

If someone gave you their expenditure budget for next year, and you wanted to understand it in terms of current dollars, you’d deflate it by the CPI (if their expenditure was in consumer items). You would not deflate it by an arbitrary 7.52%!

Of course ACT Gov income will rise, as will their expenditure, partly due to inflation, partly due to increased population. Income and expenditure per-head in real terms (ie, inflation adjusted terms, not 7.52%!) cannot change much or change rapidly: for example, net (non-income in the ACT Gov’s case) tax increases above wage inflation are not sustainable (rate rises after compensating reductions in stamp duty) and are particularly regressive and disproportionally shift the burden to those with lower income in the community.

When looking at the future year dollar expenditure on schools, hospitals, roads, justice system, social services etc, no-one ever discounts this by an arbitrary 7.52% to bring it back to current dollars, or looks at current dollars and inflates them by 7.52% to produce future dollars. If they did, then budget forward estimates would be very interesting!

For example, consider the ACT Total Expenses from the 2016-17 budget forward estimates, Table 4.1.1
http://apps.treasury.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/870884/Chapter-4-Expenses.pdf

2015-16: $5131m
2016-17: $5403m
2017-18: $5312m
2018-19: $5529m
2019-20: $5712m

What is the compound growth (in nominal dollars, as shown in this table) between 2015-16 and 2019-20? It is 2.7%, compounding over the 4 years. And what component of that is due to extra expenses due of increased population? This is not made explicit, but Canberra’s population is forecast to grow from about 390,000 to about 420,000 over that period, a compound growth of around 1.8%. So, ACT Gov’s expenses per person is forecast to grow from about $13,200 in 2015-16 to about $13,600 in 2019-20, a compound rate of a mere 0.8% (that is, well below the CPI or wage inflater).

Total revenue over the same period [ http://apps.treasury.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/870890/Chapter-6-Revenue.pdf table 6.1.1 ] is forecast to grow from $4732m in 2015-16 to $5581m in 2019-20 (nominal, not current $), or in per-head terms, from about $12,100 to about $13,300, or a compound increase of about 2.3%pa (ie, above CPI and wage inflater).

The tram expenditure, in nominal (future) year dollars as outlined in the contract summary will soon be part of these forward estimates. What will they be in current dollar terms? If you use the same deflater everyone else uses for comparing future income and expenditure with current income and expenditure, you will deflate those contract summary figures with an anticipated rate of inflation, that will roughly apply to income and expenditure. Sure, there IS some difference between CPI, the wage index, and goods and services Gov buys (although these ARE mostly wages), but the RBA’s inflation outlook, at the lower end of the 1.5%-2.5% range is a resonable way to do this. Using 7.52% is most definitely not: once again, that is essentially an “opportunity cost” of money factor (and an extremely optimistic one at that) that can only be used for comparing options for financing, but says absolutely nothing about future cash flows required to support the expenditure.

KentFitch said :

But that is not the case. The budget is in deficit, there is no $939m under the mattress, and the future tram payments must be met from future income. How much future income will be set aside is the relevant question, to which the answer is “if the rate of inflation averages 2.2% AND there are no cost overruns, $1.3billion must be set aside”.

Future income that will increase over time, essentially inline with the increases in yearly payments. Except for a few years where they are higher due to mid life refurbishment and extra maintenance.

So no don’t need that money now, and no it doesn’t have to be put into an interest bearing account. Yes it has to be found year in year out, just like every other operating expense the territory has.

JC said :

rommeldog56 said :

You are correct Kentfinch.

NPVs are used in large procurements in order to demonstrate the cost of the ranked tender responses in roughly todays $ terms and especially where pre payments are involved. For forward commitment purposes, it is the b$1.708 that will be approved as a contracted financial commitment and will be reflected in the budget papers as such.

I raised this issue during past discussions on RiotAct about Tram stage 1 but was howled down by the usual ACT Labor/Greens glee club, those who delight in obfuscation of ACT Labor/Greens Govt decisions and those who seem hell bent on accepting what ever spin ACT Labor/Greens issue. People who say “we can afford the tram, we can do it all”, have been suckered by the use of the NPV figure. But I doubt they will ever recognise that.

Going to agree for once. It is used to determine how much something is for comparison reasons. Hence why it is the most correct figure to be worrying about in determining how much in relative terms this will cost over the 23 year life span.

And as Kent says “because a dollar in 2020 is very unlikely to have the same purchasing power … as a dollar in 2039”

So today’s value is what matters…

..

Hallelujah! I think everyone can agree that the value of the contract in today’s dollars is what “matters” in that when someone bandies about a number, if they are not doing in “today’s” dollars, they are trying to be tricky.

So, the only question that remains is: how do you convert future dollars into today’s dollars, And there are 2 proposals on the table:

1) use best-guess at inflation rate, which is the de-facto stand-in for how the value of money changes over time
2) use 7.52% pa

The inflation rate tells you the amount of cash, converted to current dollars, you are going to need to meet the commitment you have entered into, whether paying off your car on hire-purchase or the tram. Hence, it tells you the amount of money you are going to have to divert from future income to make that commitment.

Summed over the 20 year life of the project (not just the contract!) that amount, discounted at 2.2% inflation guestimate is $1.3b.

If the ACT Gov had $939m under its mattress AND could guarantee a 7.52% net return on that money, 100% risk free THEN it could invest that money and draw it down to meet the repayments and THEN it could legitimately say “We have this $939m sitting around, and we’re allocating it to the tram: hence the tram costs $939m in today’s money” and we’d all argue about whether that was the best use of $939m today (the opportunity cost of $939m wad of cash), (and we would marvel at their ability to guarantee a risk free rate of return of 7.52%)

But that is not the case. The budget is in deficit, there is no $939m under the mattress, and the future tram payments must be met from future income. How much future income will be set aside is the relevant question, to which the answer is “if the rate of inflation averages 2.2% AND there are no cost overruns, $1.3billion must be set aside”.

chewy14 said :

JC said :

KentFitch said :

But $1.78 billion, being in future $, is just as misleading a way to represent the cost as the $939m NPV, because a dollar in 2020 is very unlikely to have the same purchasing power (or the same alternative uses for spending on say, hospital supplies) as a dollar in 2039. So, what people trying to be clear rather than tricky do is have a best guess at converting all those dollar amounts over different years into a single, uniform “2016 dollar” (in this case). In other words, in 2016 dollars, how much I am going to have to divert in future years from other claims on gov expenditure to pay for this?.

Exactly hence why a present cost figure is the best guide of how much something will cost.

And BTW the $114m contingency is already factored into the $939m cost, so not sure why you are adding that to the figure.

It is the cost or value to the government today if they had the money upfront to pay, it helps represent the opportunity cost of the money.

But the point is, they don’t have that money now, they will be raising it from external revenue sources over 20 years.

And even you can admit surely that the lower figure won’t represent either the cost or value to the people supplying that revenue at those future times.

Yes they will be paying it over 20 years. But the point is the relative cost to budget should be much the same as today.

Now give you an example. 17 years ago I built a house that cost $100,000. Today same house would cost closer to $200,000 to build.

My pay level 17 years ago was around $45,000 today if I were the exact same level in the same organisation it would be about $95,000.

Now whilst today the cost is double my relative buying power is actually better so In reality the house today is better value.

And same here. In 20 years time paying $64m is not the same as $64m today.

That is why there are comparative figures to try and estimate what it would cost in today’s terms.

It is not a hard principle to understand.

rommeldog56 said :

JC said :

Exactly hence why a present cost figure is the best guide of how much something will cost.

You must be more knowledgeable than the ACT Auditor General who said the “cost” will be b$1.780 over the life of the contract – that’s the minimum amount that will be paid to the contractor.

Which is not present cost. As your mate Kent said the buying power of a dollar will be different in 20 years compared to now. And with that the warning power also different. Sonin compating value present cost is what matters more.

JC said :

KentFitch said :

But $1.78 billion, being in future $, is just as misleading a way to represent the cost as the $939m NPV, because a dollar in 2020 is very unlikely to have the same purchasing power (or the same alternative uses for spending on say, hospital supplies) as a dollar in 2039. So, what people trying to be clear rather than tricky do is have a best guess at converting all those dollar amounts over different years into a single, uniform “2016 dollar” (in this case). In other words, in 2016 dollars, how much I am going to have to divert in future years from other claims on gov expenditure to pay for this?.

Exactly hence why a present cost figure is the best guide of how much something will cost.

And BTW the $114m contingency is already factored into the $939m cost, so not sure why you are adding that to the figure.

It is the cost or value to the government today if they had the money upfront to pay, it helps represent the opportunity cost of the money.

But the point is, they don’t have that money now, they will be raising it from external revenue sources over 20 years.

And even you can admit surely that the lower figure won’t represent either the cost or value to the people supplying that revenue at those future times.

JC said :

Exactly hence why a present cost figure is the best guide of how much something will cost.

You must be more knowledgeable than the ACT Auditor General who said the “cost” will be b$1.780 over the life of the contract – that’s the minimum amount that will be paid to the contractor.

KentFitch said :

But $1.78 billion, being in future $, is just as misleading a way to represent the cost as the $939m NPV, because a dollar in 2020 is very unlikely to have the same purchasing power (or the same alternative uses for spending on say, hospital supplies) as a dollar in 2039. So, what people trying to be clear rather than tricky do is have a best guess at converting all those dollar amounts over different years into a single, uniform “2016 dollar” (in this case). In other words, in 2016 dollars, how much I am going to have to divert in future years from other claims on gov expenditure to pay for this?.

Exactly hence why a present cost figure is the best guide of how much something will cost.

And BTW the $114m contingency is already factored into the $939m cost, so not sure why you are adding that to the figure.

rommeldog56 said :

You are correct Kentfinch.

NPVs are used in large procurements in order to demonstrate the cost of the ranked tender responses in roughly todays $ terms and especially where pre payments are involved. For forward commitment purposes, it is the b$1.708 that will be approved as a contracted financial commitment and will be reflected in the budget papers as such.

I raised this issue during past discussions on RiotAct about Tram stage 1 but was howled down by the usual ACT Labor/Greens glee club, those who delight in obfuscation of ACT Labor/Greens Govt decisions and those who seem hell bent on accepting what ever spin ACT Labor/Greens issue. People who say “we can afford the tram, we can do it all”, have been suckered by the use of the NPV figure. But I doubt they will ever recognise that.

Going to agree for once. It is used to determine how much something is for comparison reasons. Hence why it is the most correct figure to be worrying about in determining how much in relative terms this will cost over the 23 year life span.

And as Kent says “because a dollar in 2020 is very unlikely to have the same purchasing power … as a dollar in 2039”

So today’s value is what matters…

But have been howled down by the usual ACT Liberal glee club, those who delight in obfuscation of ACT Labor/Greens Govt decisions and those who seem hell bent on accepting what ever spin ACT Liberals issue and looking for fault in every government decision.

KentFitch said :

Unequivocally, it is not. The “Net Present Value” of future contract payments committed to by the ACT Government is $939m, when AND ONLY WHEN those payments are discounted at 7.52% per annum. But that $939m only makes sense in context of helping to answer this question: “Should we pay for this project up-front, or should we pay for it on (effectively) hire-purchase?”

The Net Present Value allows one to compare different financing options depending on how you value money now compared to money later, taking into account what other things you think you could do with that money (such as what (typically) risk-adjusted return you can get by investing it rather than spending it).

Once that comparison is done and choice is made, the NPV figure is TOTALLY irrelevant: it doesn’t appear in your cash flows, and it CERTAINLY DOES NOT appear in the contract – the vendor doesn’t give a rats what loopy discount factor you chose to justify your decision to yourself!

What does appear in the contract and thence in your future cash outgoings are the (then) current year dollars. As the auditor general notes in her report [ http://www.audit.act.gov.au/auditreports/reports2016/Report%20No.%205%20of%202016%20Initiation%20of%20the%20Light%20Rail%20Project.pdf ] the nominal cost over 20 years (that is, in future $ costs), excluding the Government’s agency costs for managing the project (contract management, land purchase, bus station, park n ride…) is $1.78 billion.

That is the figure that will appear in budget outgoings: that (if all goes “well”) will be the amount transferred from the ACT Gov bank account to the consortium’s bank accounts.

But $1.78 billion, being in future $, is just as misleading a way to represent the cost as the $939m NPV, because a dollar in 2020 is very unlikely to have the same purchasing power (or the same alternative uses for spending on say, hospital supplies) as a dollar in 2039. So, what people trying to be clear rather than tricky do is have a best guess at converting all those dollar amounts over different years into a single, uniform “2016 dollar” (in this case). In other words, in 2016 dollars, how much I am going to have to divert in future years from other claims on gov expenditure to pay for this?

Now, a prudent thing to do is look at the recent past and RBA forecasts to have a guess at a deflater to apply. No-one knows what inflation will be – Treasury can’t accurately forecast anything 12 months out. But the RBA think inflation will be between 1.5%-2.5% over their forecast figure. A deflater of 2.2% is perhaps too generous (that is, it UNDERESTIMATES that 2016$ cost), but lets say we use that anyway. And if you do that, you get $1.305 billion. Then add off-contract costs which are unavoidable, then subtract forecast fare-box earnings (after also deflating these to 2016$). If you want to be prudent, add in the contingency costs (for ACT Gov’s retained risk), which the auditor noted rose from the previous estimate of $71m to $114m as part of contract finalisation.

You are correct Kentfinch. NPVs are used in large procurements in order to demonstrate the cost of the ranked tender responses in roughly todays $ terms and especially where pre payments are involved. For forward commitment purposes, it is the b$1.708 that will be approved as a contracted financial commitment and will be reflected in the budget papers as such.

I raised this issue during past discussions on RiotAct about Tram stage 1 but was howled down by the usual ACT Labor/Greens glee club, those who delight in obfuscation of ACT Labor/Greens Govt decisions and those who seem hell bent on accepting what ever spin ACT Labor/Greens issue. People who say “we can afford the tram, we can do it all”, have been suckered by the use of the NPV figure. But I doubt they will ever recognise that.

JC said :

Again, don’t think you understand what you are reading or if you do you are trying to confuse matters to suit your argument.

The contract is very very simple. In 2016 terms the contract is $939m. The contract covers construction, finance, running and maintenance for 20 years.

This is made up of $305m (in 2016 terms, $375m in 2019) one off payment on completion of the line, built in contingency plus availability payments spread over 20 years of operation. End of story.

Yes the payments will be more that $939m when indexed over the 20 year life of the contract, there is absolutely no secret of this fact.

As you are well aware Table 7 is showing what it will cost in 2016 terms. As for the discount rates do you have a better method for comparing the cost of a project that has a 23 year life span? No didn’t think so.

Your misunderstanding of financing is fundamental, as revealed in this statement: “In 2016 terms the contract is $939m.”

Unequivocally, it is not. The “Net Present Value” of future contract payments committed to by the ACT Government is $939m, when AND ONLY WHEN those payments are discounted at 7.52% per annum. But that $939m only makes sense in context of helping to answer this question: “Should we pay for this project up-front, or should we pay for it on (effectively) hire-purchase?”

The Net Present Value allows one to compare different financing options depending on how you value money now compared to money later, taking into account what other things you think you could do with that money (such as what (typically) risk-adjusted return you can get by investing it rather than spending it).

Once that comparison is done and choice is made, the NPV figure is TOTALLY irrelevant: it doesn’t appear in your cash flows, and it CERTAINLY DOES NOT appear in the contract – the vendor doesn’t give a rats what loopy discount factor you chose to justify your decision to yourself!

What does appear in the contract and thence in your future cash outgoings are the (then) current year dollars. As the auditor general notes in her report [ http://www.audit.act.gov.au/auditreports/reports2016/Report%20No.%205%20of%202016%20Initiation%20of%20the%20Light%20Rail%20Project.pdf ] the nominal cost over 20 years (that is, in future $ costs), excluding the Government’s agency costs for managing the project (contract management, land purchase, bus station, park n ride…) is $1.78 billion. That is the figure that will appear in budget outgoings: that (if all goes “well”) will be the amount transferred from the ACT Gov bank account to the consortium’s bank accounts.

But $1.78 billion, being in future $, is just as misleading a way to represent the cost as the $939m NPV, because a dollar in 2020 is very unlikely to have the same purchasing power (or the same alternative uses for spending on say, hospital supplies) as a dollar in 2039. So, what people trying to be clear rather than tricky do is have a best guess at converting all those dollar amounts over different years into a single, uniform “2016 dollar” (in this case). In other words, in 2016 dollars, how much I am going to have to divert in future years from other claims on gov expenditure to pay for this?

Now, a prudent thing to do is look at the recent past and RBA forecasts to have a guess at a deflater to apply. No-one knows what inflation will be – Treasury can’t accurately forecast anything 12 months out. But the RBA think inflation will be between 1.5%-2.5% over their forecast figure. A deflater of 2.2% is perhaps too generous (that is, it UNDERESTIMATES that 2016$ cost), but lets say we use that anyway. And if you do that, you get $1.305 billion. Then add off-contract costs which are unavoidable, then subtract forecast fare-box earnings (after also deflating these to 2016$). If you want to be prudent, add in the contingency costs (for ACT Gov’s retained risk), which the auditor noted rose from the previous estimate of $71m to $114m as part of contract finalisation.

chewy14 said :

Your accusing others of trying to confuse matters to suit your argument when as Kent Fitch points out, the ACT government’s figures are used to do just that.

Yes, the NPC may well be $939million in today’s dollars using the discount rate applied but this definitely does not represent the amounts that individual citizens will be forced to pay nor the amount the government will need to raise. It’s not like individual residents are investing the current financial value for future rate payments. Either way, your own understated figures still add up to thousands, when you freely admit the numbers will be higher.?

Big issue with Kents figures were he was adding the one off payment and contingency on top of the $939m, when that is not the case. He was then carrying on about the discount rates etc which is a completely different issue altogether.

As for those comparison figures as I wrote above it is a project with a 23 year life span. Absolute figures are important of course and they are for all to see in the contract summary document. But so too are comparison figures so one can work out how much something will cost in today’s terms. And with those discount rates, I will ask you as I asked Kent do you have a better method of comparing a project that has a 23 year life span? No don’t think so.

JC said :

Again, don’t think you understand what you are reading or if you do you are trying to confuse matters to suit your argument.

The contract is very very simple. In 2016 terms the contract is $939m. The contract covers construction, finance, running and maintenance for 20 years.

This is made up of $305m (in 2016 terms, $375m in 2019) one off payment on completion of the line, built in contingency plus availability payments spread over 20 years of operation. End of story.

Yes the payments will be more that $939m when indexed over the 20 year life of the contract, there is absolutely no secret of this fact.

As you are well aware Table 7 is showing what it will cost in 2016 terms. As for the discount rates do you have a better method for comparing the cost of a project that has a 23 year life span? No didn’t think so.

Your accusing others of trying to confuse matters to suit your argument when as Kent Fitch points out, the ACT government’s figures are used to do just that.

Yes, the NPC may well be $939million in today’s dollars using the discount rate applied but this definitely does not represent the amounts that individual citizens will be forced to pay nor the amount the government will need to raise. It’s not like individual residents are investing the current financial value for future rate payments. Either way, your own understated figures still add up to thousands, when you freely admit the numbers will be higher.

Also, you’ve tried to then claim that rates are only 10% of total ACT government revenue so only 10% of light rail payments will come from this source. This assumes that the ACT government is free to either raise revenue at will with no economic effects or will reduce services by the light rail cost amount.

Let’s look at revenue, over 41% of ACT government revenue is from federal government grants and payments (GST, etc). The ACT government does not control this revenue source and cannot unilaterally raise it.

It also has a number of revenue sources directed at specific programs and other sources which cannot be greatly altered without suppressing economic development in Canberra.

Other large revenue sources such as residential and commercial stamp duties have been linked previously to the taxation reform packages. Should the government go back on these promises?

Then there are “vice” taxes, vehicle registrations and the like, which are easier to change but may have other adverse outcomes that may not achieve desired revenue outcomes.

The idea that the ACT government can simply raise revenue from all current sources at equal levels is patently false, they only have a few easy levers to pull, residential and commercial rates being one of them.

Unless you were thinking of paying for the tram via cutting services. About 80% of which is Health, Education, Policing, Welfare, Community Housing and General Public Services.

Perhaps you can let me know where you’d like to start cutting?

Again, don’t think you understand what you are reading or if you do you are trying to confuse matters to suit your argument.

The contract is very very simple. In 2016 terms the contract is $939m. The contract covers construction, finance, running and maintenance for 20 years.

This is made up of $305m (in 2016 terms, $375m in 2019) one off payment on completion of the line, built in contingency plus availability payments spread over 20 years of operation. End of story.

Yes the payments will be more that $939m when indexed over the 20 year life of the contract, there is absolutely no secret of this fact.

As you are well aware Table 7 is showing what it will cost in 2016 terms. As for the discount rates do you have a better method for comparing the cost of a project that has a 23 year life span? No didn’t think so.

JC said :


You have misread the figures.

The cost is $939m in 2016 terms. This cost INCLUDES the one off payment of $375m (in 2019 terms) and also includes the territories contingency liability of $114m.

Source page 15 of this document:

http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/887686/Light-rail-Capital-Metro-Project-Contract-Summary.pdf

Now yes this document says the territory contribution is $305m, but can I point out that this is a comparison table and as such it is based on 2016 terms not when the payment will be made.

So I stand by my statement that the cost of this project is actually $117 per person per year, though it should have read in 2016 terms not 2017 terms.

And some here complain about rates rises etc to pay for this. Now considering rates only make up 10% of all territory income, that means the cost to rates as a proportion of income is $11.70 per year.

Oh and finally you talk about other costs such as land purchases etc, at the end of the day totally irrelevant. These purchases are not factored into the cost of other (read road) projects, so should not, if you want a serious like for like comparison be factored into this project either.

Going to start doing that maybe should factor road construction and maintenance costs into Action buses budget or indeed your own pet autonomous car thingy.

You have misundersood the figures, as the ACT Gov hoped you would. Hook, line and sinker..

Note Table 6 in the contract summary, “Availability Payments”, which shows the planned payments the Gov will make each year on top of the $375m capital payment in 2019. You’ll see the note under the table: “Figures in Table 6 are in nominal (future) dollars”. So, how to convert these future commitments to 2016 dollars?

The ACT Government is hoping you’re not paying attention, and unquestioningly accept their discount factor of 7.52% with a glazed look, but think for a moment about what is going on here from an accounting perspective: does this discount factor have ANYTHING to do with future cash flows? If you shrug or nod hopefully, you have been bamboozled, which of course is the intent.

This discount factor has NOTHING to do with converting future payments made with future revenue into present day $, or in this case, money which will be spent by the Government to meet its tram “hire-purchase” payments. If you think otherwise, do I have an investment proposal for you…

The relevant accounting treatment is the same as would be applied for forward estimates for running a school or a hospital or maintaining roads: how much cash is needed, and, to make future year amounts easier to compare – what is that amount is current-year $. When working out how much FUTURE revenue you need to set aside for such FUTURE expenditure you never discount the future expenditure figures using such a “net present cost” discount rate, which instead is intended to used for comparing the relative merits of spending money now (that is cash you have now) compared to spending cash you will have in the future. (Or, alternatively, revenue: if you could receive a $1 of income now, how much would you need to receive in 10 years to convince you to defer receiving the payment until then?).

Such a discount rate is perfectly valid for comparing, say, the option of paying for something (such as a tram) up-front and paying it off in the future, but it is accountingly-wrong (and deceptive) to use it outside that context (and as its proper use in this context is as “risk free” rate, 7.52%, which is well over double the 10 yr Treasury bond rate, is recklessly high anyway). The Liberals were no better in pretending that the undiscounted amount ($375m capital in 2019 plus $1274m in future dollars = $1649m) was the contract’s cost (plus who-knows-how-much for off-contract costs).

No-one knows what inflation will average over 20 years, and hence what a reasonable deflater is. Over 2016 inflation was 1.5%. It has averaged under 2% for 5 years. Some economists think the world will be trapped in ultra-low inflation or even deflation, as Japan has been for decades. The OECD long-term rate for the US is just over 2% – Australia’s may be higher or lower, depending on commodity prices, world trade etc. The RBA band is 2-3%, with current consensus at the lower end of that range (“headline inflation rates will remain below central bank targets for some time yet, particularly in advanced economies” http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/smp/2016/may/economic-outlook.html ) between 1.5% and 2.5%, due to uncertainty with the world economy. But no-one thinks it will be anything like 7.52%. 2% – 2.2% is more likely, if things go well. So, what happens when you deflate by 1.8% out to 2019 and 2.2%pa compounding for each of the payments 20 years after? You get a contract cost of
around $355m (capital) plus $950m (availability) = $1305m in 2016$. Then add off-contract costs (land purchase, Dickson interchange and park/ride construction, contract management) and subtract fare box revenue.

Divide by the forecast population, multiply by people per households and you get an average over 20 years of about $352/household each year for 20 years. To be clear: that is money the ACT Government needs to raise and divert from other claims on spending, for one tram line.

Now, Mick Gentleman claimed the tram line would “free up” over 1 million km/pa of bus travel ( http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/gungahlin-tram-to-free-up-more-than-one-million-bus-kilometres-government-says-20151108-gktneu ). I think the ACT Gov claimed the actual figure was 1.2m km/pa. This represents 4.7% of the 25.6 million km travelled by ACTION buses in 2014-15, that is less than one twentieth of ACTION’s service. So, the current per household all-up subsidy for ACTION is around $900/pa, which makes ACTION look like a miracle of efficiency and financial prudence. And it even stops closer to your door..

You worry that this comparison is unfair because ACTION’s share of road expenditure isn’t included. Let me put your mind at ease.

According to http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/9208.0/ motor vehicles travelled about 2920 million km in the ACT in 2014. ACTION buses travelled about 25m km in 2014-15 (according to http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/ghost-action-buses-cost-act-government-nearly-12-million-in-one-year-20151002-gjzyi2.html, including “dead running”). That is, ACTION buses travelled less than 1% of the total vehicle km, and less than the distance travelled by light commercial vehicles (406 m km) and rigid trucks (45m km). (Other buses (Murrays, Keirs, QCity …) apparently travelled about 9m km, according to the ABS.) What did the ACT spend on roads? According to the 16-17 budget papers, the total expenditure on roads, stormwater, footpaths, car-parks will be about $208m, which seems to include about $100m on new capital works for roads. I can’t find how much was spent on stormwater, footpaths or carparks, so for argument’s sake, lets assume the spend on roads was almost all of this: $200m. Hence, on a vehicle-km basis, ACTION’s share of road management, maintenance and capital works was 1% of this: $2m. Maybe you could argue ACTION buses are 3 times longer than a car, so it should be $6m. A rounding error.

JC said :

As for my comments though even if you add in the 254, I don’t agree with your comments that the suburban express buses will be cut, or that the buses that go Gunghalin to the City via the burbs will be cut. You claim it has been announced, yet unlike every other point you ever make there is not one link to support the claim.

If I were a betting person I would say that outside of peak yeah those buses may well terminate close to the light rail (which IMO would be rather sensible rather than duplicate the light rail). But outside of those times express buses will still be very much needed.

….

You don’t chose to believe that the gungahlin-civic suburban and red-rapid buses will be replaced in entirity by the tram?

The Technical Paper 5 which I linked to previously [ https://web.archive.org/web/20160325204115/http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/41352/Capital_Metro_Light_Rail_Stage_1_Draft_EIS_Volume_03_Part_5-Traffic_and_Transport.pdf ] couldn’t be clearer: “The proposed revision to the local bus network is based upon removing buses travelling as trunk or express services along Flemington Road and Northbourne Avenue between Gungahlin, Dickson and the City (which would be replaced by the [light-rail] Project).” See section 3.6.2, Figure 3.4 and Table 3.1.

Some people at the NCC meeting Megan Fitzharris spoke at June 21 last year [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34RC2NChOXc ] were not thrilled about route 39 from Watson to Civic being truncated at Dickson, as planned (table 3.1), so it may survive, although possibly not travel down Northbourne. At 9:40 into the meeting, Megan Fitzharris spruiks the advantage of the tram plan: “..it means those buses currently travelling up and down there every 10 minutes and more frequently every day will be redeployed to other parts of the city”.

But now you are saying “outside of those times express buses will still be very much needed”, which is exactly my point if you remember: the tram will not have the capacity of the current bus service and will result in a reduction of public transport capacity for Gungahlin commuters. You incorrectly stated there were 17 buses on a “like for like” comparison when the number really is 30.

Now you are betting that buses will be retained on the route to make up for the shortage of tram capacity you previously denied existed?

KentFitch said :

JC said :


And as for paying ‘thousands’, stage 1 light rail to build and run will cost $117 per person per year in 2017 terms to build, finance and run, less fare box income. And that is not factoring in population growth that will occur over the 20 year cost recovery cycle of the project which will reduce that figure in real terms.

The ACT Gov published the Capital Metro Contract Summary on 9 June last year, which shows, if there are no unexpected blow-outs (some of which the ACT Gov is liable for), that they will meet “availability payments” over 20 years totalling of $1274m in “future year $”. They itemise each year’s payment, so deflating each to 2016 dollars using 2.2% annual deflater gives a sum of $950m (in 2016$). Added to this is a capital payment of $375m in 2019, which deflates to $355m in 2016$ at a 1.8%pa rate. There are only the contract costs. The project costs on top of this already exceed $100m allocated or spent for Capital Metro start-up and current admin for the construction, plus unknown amounts ongoing admin and for additional off-contract works (such as the purchase of land near Northbourne/Cape St and the construction of the bus terminal there and various park and drives). Fare-box income was estimated by Capital Metro at around $1/boarding in the business case, with around 6.4m boardings pa just after the contract mid-point (2031). Hence fare-box income over the contract life is unlikely to be more than 6.4m times 20 = $128m in 2016$.

So, the project’s (not contract’s) claim on the ACT budget over 20 years (in 2016$) is around $950m plus $355m plus $100m plus unknown land purchase, capital works, contract admin minus $128m. For this exercise, can we agree to estimate contract admin at $10m ($500K/year) and unknown land purchase and capital works at just $20m? This gives a total project cost of just over $1300m in 2016$, or around $65m/pa (2016$).

The ACT Gov expect a uniform rate of increase in population over the next 20 years, with an estimate of about 480,000 in 2029 (project midpoint). Hence on average, for each person (from bub to aged-pensioner) in 2029, available revenue for spending on other ACT gov services will be reduced by $65m/480k = $135/pa (2016$), for one tram line. On a household basis (average 2.6 people per household in Canberra last census), that’s $352 per household per year in 2016$, if all goes to the published plan. It will be higher before 2029 and lower after 2029.

By way of comparison, the 2016-17 real subsidy for ACTION (operating subsidy plus capital) will probably be around $140m across a 2017 population of about 405,000 (ACT Gov projection), or $350 per person per year, or $900 per household per year for the entire ACTION network (including all school and special buses).

So, that’s the financial cost. What about the wider cost?

Well, the ACT Gov’s EIS transport study [ https://web.archive.org/web/20160325204115/http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/41352/Capital_Metro_Light_Rail_Stage_1_Draft_EIS_Volume_03_Part_5-Traffic_and_Transport.pdf ] show that average combined AM and PM peak period vehicle speed over the road network around the proposed route (not just traffic on the direct route) decreases from 27.8 km/hr without the tram to 23.1 km/hr with the tram (Table 4.2, page 38).

For traffic on the direct route, the travel time for a peak-period return trip from Gungahlin to Civic with the predominant traffic flow (to Civic in the AM, to Gungahlin in the PM) increases from 52 minutes 6 seconds without the tram to 55 minutes 23 seconds with the tram (Table 4.3, page 39).

The analysis of intersection performance over AM and PM peaks shows that the combined number of intersections at which traffic will exceed capacity more than triples from 2 without the tram to 7 with the tram. Further, the combined number of intersections which will be operating at the limits of their capacity doubles from 3 without the tram to 6 with the tram (Table 4.5 to 4.10, pages 41 to 45).

Note, Capital Metro’s comparisons described here are comparing “business as usual” (including non-tram population growth) with the tram.

What’s the economic and environment cost of these increased travel times? Oddly, it wasn’t costed.

Furthermore, the general community expectation (and most of the “added value” used to pump-up the BCR in the BusinessCase to nudge it over 1.0) is for land prices and hence real rents to rise along the route. If this does come to pass and rents increase by 15%-20%, the result is a net transfer of wealth from renters to property owners, that is, from the generally less-well-off to the better-well-off. As this assumption is the basis in the BusinessCase, let us at least be honest and not view it as an “unintended consequence”, but the main purpose of the project, given the lack of any transport justification.

And if that increase doesn’t come to pass, the loss of “value uplift” in the BusinessCase puts the project deep, deep underwater. Lose-lose.

For Stage 1, this IS a done deal. Let’s at least reconsider a future stage in the light of this policy failure and the rapid shift in transport technology to 24×7, on-demand, door-to-door cheap safe and green mobility being promoted by the likes of tram-consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff, and many others [ http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf http://driverlessfuture.webflow.io/ ]

I shall keep this very short.

You have misread the figures.

The cost is $939m in 2016 terms. This cost INCLUDES the one off payment of $375m (in 2019 terms) and also includes the territories contingency liability of $114m.

Source page 15 of this document:

http://www.tccs.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/887686/Light-rail-Capital-Metro-Project-Contract-Summary.pdf

Now yes this document says the territory contribution is $305m, but can I point out that this is a comparison table and as such it is based on 2016 terms not when the payment will be made.

So I stand by my statement that the cost of this project is actually $117 per person per year, though it should have read in 2016 terms not 2017 terms.

And some here complain about rates rises etc to pay for this. Now considering rates only make up 10% of all territory income, that means the cost to rates as a proportion of income is $11.70 per year.

Oh and finally you talk about other costs such as land purchases etc, at the end of the day totally irrelevant. These purchases are not factored into the cost of other (read road) projects, so should not, if you want a serious like for like comparison be factored into this project either.

Going to start doing that maybe should factor road construction and maintenance costs into Action buses budget or indeed your own pet autonomous car thingy.

People are right to argue about who pays for what and doesn’t pay for what in Canberra. I think JC is right that you will never have perfect 100% equality across all of ACT. The problem is that the current mix and spread of ACT Government charges and taxes against the Suburbs where the ACT Government is funding it’s infrastructure and community spending is ‘totally skewed’ at the moment. Not even close to 100% equality.

It goes back to the new rates model being so poorly designed and the fact it is hitting poorer outer suburb homeowners harder than wealthier inner city homeowners.

The rates model calculates charges based on unimproved land values and a basic charge component no matter what the value of your land and the house. This hits the home owners of low value houses on big blocks in outer suburbs ‘harder’ than high value blocks in inner areas that are getting better access to Government services and heavily increasing housing assets.

You can see hundreds of examples by logging into allhomes and looking at previous house sales, block size and rates charges.

As an example; 7 Burt St O’Connor sold for $1.3 million dollars for a 644 sqm block paying $3,350 a year in Rates. Where as 9 Forrest Place in Kambah just sold for $460k with a 1167sqm block paying $2,150 a year in Rates. The Kambah resident pays two thirds of the Rates, while the O’Connor owner has a property worth almost three times as much. This is effectively the opposite of a sliding tax scale where the higher income earners pay a higher marginal tax rate.

There are hundreds of examples like this where the less wealthy people of Western Belconnen or Tuggeranong have been hit hard with Labor’s Rates hikes but only have slowly increasing house values. Whereas inner city areas homeowners are ‘asset wise’ benefiting from the ACT Government’s spending focus on their Suburbs but only paying a relatively small amount via the new rates model.

Either the Rates model or ACT Government spending priorities have to be re-visited to ensure better equity for Canberra residents right across the City. Not just extra funding to the parts of Canberra that help a party retain Government.

KentFitch said :

The ACT Gov published the Capital Metro Contract Summary on 9 June last year, which shows, if there are no unexpected blow-outs (some of which the ACT Gov is liable for), that they will meet “availability payments” over 20 years totalling of $1274m in “future year $”. They itemise each year’s payment, so deflating each to 2016 dollars using 2.2% annual deflater gives a sum of $950m (in 2016$). Added to this is a capital payment of $375m in 2019, which deflates to $355m in 2016$ at a 1.8%pa rate. There are only the contract costs. The project costs on top of this already exceed $100m allocated or spent for Capital Metro start-up and current admin for the construction, plus unknown amounts ongoing admin and for additional off-contract works (such as the purchase of land near Northbourne/Cape St and the construction of the bus terminal there and various park and drives). Fare-box income was estimated by Capital Metro at around $1/boarding in the business case, with around 6.4m boardings pa just after the contract mid-point (2031). Hence fare-box income over the contract life is unlikely to be more than 6.4m times 20 = $128m in 2016$.

So, the project’s (not contract’s) claim on the ACT budget over 20 years (in 2016$) is around $950m plus $355m plus $100m plus unknown land purchase, capital works, contract admin minus $128m. For this exercise, can we agree to estimate contract admin at $10m ($500K/year) and unknown land purchase and capital works at just $20m? This gives a total project cost of just over $1300m in 2016$, or around $65m/pa (2016$).

The ACT Gov expect a uniform rate of increase in population over the next 20 years, with an estimate of about 480,000 in 2029 (project midpoint). Hence on average, for each person (from bub to aged-pensioner) in 2029, available revenue for spending on other ACT gov services will be reduced by $65m/480k = $135/pa (2016$), for one tram line. On a household basis (average 2.6 people per household in Canberra last census), that’s $352 per household per year in 2016$, if all goes to the published plan. It will be higher before 2029 and lower after 2029.

By way of comparison, the 2016-17 real subsidy for ACTION (operating subsidy plus capital) will probably be around $140m across a 2017 population of about 405,000 (ACT Gov projection), or $350 per person per year, or $900 per household per year for the entire ACTION network (including all school and special buses).

So, that’s the financial cost. What about the wider cost?

Well, the ACT Gov’s EIS transport study [ https://web.archive.org/web/20160325204115/http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/41352/Capital_Metro_Light_Rail_Stage_1_Draft_EIS_Volume_03_Part_5-Traffic_and_Transport.pdf ] show that average combined AM and PM peak period vehicle speed over the road network around the proposed route (not just traffic on the direct route) decreases from 27.8 km/hr without the tram to 23.1 km/hr with the tram (Table 4.2, page 38).

For traffic on the direct route, the travel time for a peak-period return trip from Gungahlin to Civic with the predominant traffic flow (to Civic in the AM, to Gungahlin in the PM) increases from 52 minutes 6 seconds without the tram to 55 minutes 23 seconds with the tram (Table 4.3, page 39).

The analysis of intersection performance over AM and PM peaks shows that the combined number of intersections at which traffic will exceed capacity more than triples from 2 without the tram to 7 with the tram. Further, the combined number of intersections which will be operating at the limits of their capacity doubles from 3 without the tram to 6 with the tram (Table 4.5 to 4.10, pages 41 to 45).

Note, Capital Metro’s comparisons described here are comparing “business as usual” (including non-tram population growth) with the tram.

What’s the economic and environment cost of these increased travel times? Oddly, it wasn’t costed.

Furthermore, the general community expectation (and most of the “added value” used to pump-up the BCR in the BusinessCase to nudge it over 1.0) is for land prices and hence real rents to rise along the route. If this does come to pass and rents increase by 15%-20%, the result is a net transfer of wealth from renters to property owners, that is, from the generally less-well-off to the better-well-off. As this assumption is the basis in the BusinessCase, let us at least be honest and not view it as an “unintended consequence”, but the main purpose of the project, given the lack of any transport justification.

And if that increase doesn’t come to pass, the loss of “value uplift” in the BusinessCase puts the project deep, deep underwater. Lose-lose.

For Stage 1, this IS a done deal. Let’s at least reconsider a future stage in the light of this policy failure and the rapid shift in transport technology to 24×7, on-demand, door-to-door cheap safe and green mobility being promoted by the likes of tram-consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff, and many others [ http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf http://driverlessfuture.webflow.io/ ]

Many, many excellent points raised here. The cost of the tram has been deliberately grossly under estimated and under reported. Then again, I wonder if the latte sipping “progressives” in ACT Labor/Greens care or even understand ? After all, they voted for tram stage 2 from Civic to Woden without any costings or studies having been done. Weird – it could only happen in Canberra. But then again, that is probably a prime example of the Canberra “bubble” that people outside Canberra often deride this place about…….

Anyway, well done KentFitch.

JC said :

chewy14 said :

JC said :

chewy14 said :

“the bulk of the land for redevelopment”

ie. A miniscule portion of the total land along the corridor.

Honestly it must get tiring for you to argue this case because of your support for the government and their plans rather than simply admitting I’m right and that you don’t care.

And that’s actually not an unreasonable position to have, you simply have to admit your support for the cross subsidisation and inequity but that you believe they’re worth it to get this project in place.

What is not reasonable or logical is to spruik the benefits of the project in relation to land sales and value capture (through higher rates) whilst simultaneously claiming that the cross subsidisation doesn’t occur (or failing to admit you support it).

Actually there is quite a bit of land being redeveloped, isn’t that one of the complaints of the anti mob? Cannot have it both ways. And don’t think I ever said anything about there being no cross subsidisation either, of course there is, but I don’t see what the issue is what so ever.

As for inequity, think we have covered this before, but there is inequity everywhere you look. To build and grow a city you are always taking money from existing residents in the form of rates and charges to spend in new areas. No where that I know of does anyone ever have 100% of the money they pay spend on them (which I assume is what you would call equity). Been through it before but when Tuggers was being built it received a disproportionate amount of money and fancy new stuff, paid for by others and paid for by land sales in Tuggeranong.

That money has now, well 20 years ago now moved to Gungahlin and soon enough will move to other new development areas. It is just the way it is, like it or not.

Stop obfuscating, Tuggeranong didn’t and has never received the sort of cross subsidisation involved with the Tram. In fact no, no other area has. For the final time, this is not the same as providing basic infrastructure to a new greenfield development area.

Simple question:

Do you support outer suburban residents paying thousands of dollars to benefit inner city landholders, the majority of which are relatively wealthy? Cross subsidisation that will equal tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for a project that had far cheaper alternative with almost equal benefits.

That’s it, own your position.

Although it’s clear why you don’t want to, because that would involve questioning your support for a political party who’s ideology is almost diametrically opposed to such ideals. Cognitive dissonance writ large.

Obfuscating? Oh touche….

So now you are breaking things down into what YOU think is essential/basic infrastructure and what YOU think is a luxury. To me provision of public transport is basic infrastructure, yeah yeah I know your ideological beliefs will say basic is road and a bus. Now imagine if in Sydney for example rail was considered a luxury and the City rail network wasn’t built. Afterall bus and road will do the job hey? Yeah yeah know you will say Canberra isn’t Sydney, but frankly Canberra, and the Flemmington Road/Northnorne Ave corridor are busier than other parts of Canberra so something else is needed. We cannot have more of the same, it just won’t work. Canberra cannot support more endless urban sprawl and more roads and more freeways and car parks.

As for this cross subsidisation nonsense. On one hand you argue inner city land holders will benefit from high land values, yet “others” are paying for it, presumably Tuggernaong residents. Never mind of course higher values=higher rates (one of you may complaints about the ACT government), so higher rates means they are paying more for any benefit they receive, so in essence paying for the very thing that is increasing land price.

Plus many examples of cross subsidastion all over town. Majura Parkway for example, $244m that benefits mostly Tuggernong and Gungahlin residents. Not much good to those that live in Belco or Woden is it? But they paid like everyone else did they not? Add all new suburbs, we are all paying for the infrastructure that is going into Molongolo now, but where are your complaints of cross subsidisation there?

And as for paying ‘thousands’, stage 1 light rail to build and run will cost $117 per person per year in 2017 terms to build, finance and run, less fare box income. And that is not factoring in population growth that will occur over the 20 year cost recovery cycle of the project which will reduce that figure in real terms.

Compare that to the $7000 that each person contributes to health ($4000) and education ($3000) or $2050 each person contributes to Action buses, roads (excluding projects that receive federal grants and funding) each year. Chicken feed really. But apparently it is going to bankrupt the town.

As for accepting the premise you put forward, to accept what you wrote, would mean accepting your assupmptions. However I clearly think your assumptions are flawed and as such your conclusion.

Is that Obfuscating? No that is putting it how I feel.

OK,
lets look at the assumptions then.

My assumptions would be that providing public transport is also essential infrastructure. However, choosing a public transport solution that provides 49 cents return per dollar spend when there was cheaper options available that delivered almost identical benefits, it’s not a public transport project anymore.

My assumptions would also be that Health and Education are essential, community wide services that everyone in society benefits from. Comparing them to what is basically a land development project such as this is getting pretty far off the reservation to be honest.

MY ideology, isn’t bus, isn’t road, it’s to choose the best, most efficient and most cost effective option available to deliver that basic infrastructure. If you are honestly trying to claim that this is equal to the provision of basic essential public transport infrastructure then the discussion needs to go no further, the government’s own figures outs the complete inaccuracy of such a belief.

And you’re still talking about higher rates as if it negates the fact that the landholders have already benefitted. They don’t have to pay those rates, they are free to take their massive windfall gain at any time. Only a direct tax on landholders leading up to the implementation of the tram would have seen them pay for it but the government flatly rejected it for obvious political reasons.

I’m on the record as saying I believe large road projects should be funded through user charges but interesting you choose Majura Parkway as your example of similar cross subsidisation, when the economic analysis showed it had a cost benefit of 5:1 and was half funded by the Commonwealth due to its robust business case and clear wider transport benefits for the entire region. The actual cost to the ACT was $144 out of the total $288.

How did the Gungahlin Light Rail go in getting funding from the Infrastructure department again? Oh that’s right, they got nothing due to the low level of identified benefits and poor CB ratio.

The comparison to the basic provision of essential infrastructure fails at all levels, comparing it to new greenfield areas completely ignores the fact that in those areas, basic infrastructure is paid for mainly by the land sales, not rates.

Kent Fitch’s comment above also neatly outlines some of the realities of the costs and benefits and the illogical stance of people supporting the Tram whilst not willing to own any of the negative consequences of the project.

KentFitch said :

JC said :

KentFitch said :

The tram will not even have the same capacity as current ACTION bus services on the route. Each weekday between 8am and 9am, 30 ACTION bus services leave Gungahlin Town Centre and terminate or pass through Civic (2xx red rapid, and routes 56, 57, 58). These services have capacity for about 2127 passengers (1362 seated, 765 standing) and are frequently packed in the AM peak.

30? Really?

200×5
51/52/251/252×6
255×3
56×3
57×2
58×3
259×3

Makes 25….

Plus bus routes 56, 57 and 58 are local bus routes. Yes they go Gungahlin to the City, but not directly, and post light rail will still need to exist.

So the like for like comparison is actually the 200, 2xx buses of which there are 17 an hour.

Based on your average figures for standing and seating current capacity is actually 765 seated and 425 standing.

And even then I reckon some of the 2xx buses will stay around as they provide service beyond Civic to the Parl triangle, so in reality the real comparison is just the 200’s of which there are 5, for a capacity of 225 seated and 125 standing.

It seems Trump’s disease has spread to Canberra. So really, even bus timetables can be presented as alternative facts?

Here’s ACTION’s version of the truth:

route 2xx: https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://www.transport.act.gov.au/routes-and-timetables/weekday?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZmaWxlcy50cmFuc3BvcnQuYWN0Lmdvdi5hdSUyRkF1dG9UVCUyRnBkZnMlMkZyb3V0ZV8yMDAucGRmJmFsbD0x

route 56: https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://www.transport.act.gov.au/routes-and-timetables/weekday?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZmaWxlcy50cmFuc3BvcnQuYWN0Lmdvdi5hdSUyRkF1dG9UVCUyRnBkZnMlMkZyb3V0ZV81Ni5wZGYmYWxsPTE%3D

route 57: https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://www.transport.act.gov.au/routes-and-timetables/weekday?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZmaWxlcy50cmFuc3BvcnQuYWN0Lmdvdi5hdSUyRkF1dG9UVCUyRnBkZnMlMkZyb3V0ZV81Ny5wZGYmYWxsPTE%3D

route 58: https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://www.transport.act.gov.au/routes-and-timetables/weekday?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZmaWxlcy50cmFuc3BvcnQuYWN0Lmdvdi5hdSUyRkF1dG9UVCUyRnBkZnMlMkZyb3V0ZV81OC5wZGYmYWxsPTE%3D

Summarising the services you’re contesting exist, here are the services leaving Gungahlin for Civic between 8am and 8:59am inclusive, weekdays:

200: 801 814 830 845 (4)
202: 808 (1)
251: 811 826 842 (3)
252: 817 834 854 (3)
254: 803 815 833 850 (4)
255: 807 821 841 858 (4)
259: 805 820 839 (3)
56: 808 831 853 (3)
57: 818 839 (2)
58: 808 838 858 (3)
Total: 30 services

The 5x services take commuters directly from their suburbs (56 – Palmerston, 57 – Franklin, 58 – Harrison) to North Canberra and Civic, so commuters don’t first have to catch a bus to Gungahlin then wait and change to a 2xx service: it is nonsense to assert they don’t current provide both a significant and useful service to Civic, and it is also nonsense to suggest they will continue to Civic after the tram-line opens: the Government has made it abundantly clear they will not continue these bus services to North-Canberra/Civic, that they will terminate at Wells Station near the tram stop, and commuters will need to transfer to the tram. It is also nonsense to suggest that some 2xx services will “stay around” to compete with the tram and take commuters on to Russell, Parkes (and also other current popular destinations: Barton, Kingston, Fyshwick) as again, the ACT Government has clearly stated that there will be no buses leaving Gungahlin and travelling on either Flemington Rd or Northbourne Av competing with the tram (although even you can see the transport value in doing so). See pages 32-35 of Capital Metro Technical Paper 5 : https://web.archive.org/web/20160325204115/http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/41352/Capital_Metro_Light_Rail_Stage_1_Draft_EIS_Volume_03_Part_5-Traffic_and_Transport.pdf

The conclusion is clear: the tram project degrades rather than improves public transport, but then, this exercise shows that people who struggle to read a bus timetable are undoubtedly easy marks for government spin and obfuscation.

My apologies, I left off the 254, as I didn’t realise it continued to Civic.

However rather desperate when you have to start making personal attacks, Trump like, seriously?

As for my comments though even if you add in the 254, I don’t agree with your comments that the suburban express buses will be cut, or that the buses that go Gunghalin to the City via the burbs will be cut. You claim it has been announced, yet unlike every other point you ever make there is not one link to support the claim.

If I were a betting person I would say that outside of peak yeah those buses may well terminate close to the light rail (which IMO would be rather sensible rather than duplicate the light rail). But outside of those times express buses will still be very much needed.

Oh and as for the clear conclusion you have made, it is only clear if you accept your basic assumptions, which as far as I am concerned are wrong. Just like your assumptions about how priority will work on Northborne, which are the basis for your congestion modelling thingy. False assumptions in=false outcome.

JC said :


And as for paying ‘thousands’, stage 1 light rail to build and run will cost $117 per person per year in 2017 terms to build, finance and run, less fare box income. And that is not factoring in population growth that will occur over the 20 year cost recovery cycle of the project which will reduce that figure in real terms.

The ACT Gov published the Capital Metro Contract Summary on 9 June last year, which shows, if there are no unexpected blow-outs (some of which the ACT Gov is liable for), that they will meet “availability payments” over 20 years totalling of $1274m in “future year $”. They itemise each year’s payment, so deflating each to 2016 dollars using 2.2% annual deflater gives a sum of $950m (in 2016$). Added to this is a capital payment of $375m in 2019, which deflates to $355m in 2016$ at a 1.8%pa rate. There are only the contract costs. The project costs on top of this already exceed $100m allocated or spent for Capital Metro start-up and current admin for the construction, plus unknown amounts ongoing admin and for additional off-contract works (such as the purchase of land near Northbourne/Cape St and the construction of the bus terminal there and various park and drives). Fare-box income was estimated by Capital Metro at around $1/boarding in the business case, with around 6.4m boardings pa just after the contract mid-point (2031). Hence fare-box income over the contract life is unlikely to be more than 6.4m times 20 = $128m in 2016$.

So, the project’s (not contract’s) claim on the ACT budget over 20 years (in 2016$) is around $950m plus $355m plus $100m plus unknown land purchase, capital works, contract admin minus $128m. For this exercise, can we agree to estimate contract admin at $10m ($500K/year) and unknown land purchase and capital works at just $20m? This gives a total project cost of just over $1300m in 2016$, or around $65m/pa (2016$).

The ACT Gov expect a uniform rate of increase in population over the next 20 years, with an estimate of about 480,000 in 2029 (project midpoint). Hence on average, for each person (from bub to aged-pensioner) in 2029, available revenue for spending on other ACT gov services will be reduced by $65m/480k = $135/pa (2016$), for one tram line. On a household basis (average 2.6 people per household in Canberra last census), that’s $352 per household per year in 2016$, if all goes to the published plan. It will be higher before 2029 and lower after 2029.

By way of comparison, the 2016-17 real subsidy for ACTION (operating subsidy plus capital) will probably be around $140m across a 2017 population of about 405,000 (ACT Gov projection), or $350 per person per year, or $900 per household per year for the entire ACTION network (including all school and special buses).

So, that’s the financial cost. What about the wider cost?

Well, the ACT Gov’s EIS transport study [ https://web.archive.org/web/20160325204115/http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/41352/Capital_Metro_Light_Rail_Stage_1_Draft_EIS_Volume_03_Part_5-Traffic_and_Transport.pdf ] show that average combined AM and PM peak period vehicle speed over the road network around the proposed route (not just traffic on the direct route) decreases from 27.8 km/hr without the tram to 23.1 km/hr with the tram (Table 4.2, page 38).

For traffic on the direct route, the travel time for a peak-period return trip from Gungahlin to Civic with the predominant traffic flow (to Civic in the AM, to Gungahlin in the PM) increases from 52 minutes 6 seconds without the tram to 55 minutes 23 seconds with the tram (Table 4.3, page 39).

The analysis of intersection performance over AM and PM peaks shows that the combined number of intersections at which traffic will exceed capacity more than triples from 2 without the tram to 7 with the tram. Further, the combined number of intersections which will be operating at the limits of their capacity doubles from 3 without the tram to 6 with the tram (Table 4.5 to 4.10, pages 41 to 45).

Note, Capital Metro’s comparisons described here are comparing “business as usual” (including non-tram population growth) with the tram.

What’s the economic and environment cost of these increased travel times? Oddly, it wasn’t costed.

Furthermore, the general community expectation (and most of the “added value” used to pump-up the BCR in the BusinessCase to nudge it over 1.0) is for land prices and hence real rents to rise along the route. If this does come to pass and rents increase by 15%-20%, the result is a net transfer of wealth from renters to property owners, that is, from the generally less-well-off to the better-well-off. As this assumption is the basis in the BusinessCase, let us at least be honest and not view it as an “unintended consequence”, but the main purpose of the project, given the lack of any transport justification.

And if that increase doesn’t come to pass, the loss of “value uplift” in the BusinessCase puts the project deep, deep underwater. Lose-lose.

For Stage 1, this IS a done deal. Let’s at least reconsider a future stage in the light of this policy failure and the rapid shift in transport technology to 24×7, on-demand, door-to-door cheap safe and green mobility being promoted by the likes of tram-consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff, and many others [ http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf http://driverlessfuture.webflow.io/ ]

chewy14 said :

JC said :

chewy14 said :

“the bulk of the land for redevelopment”

ie. A miniscule portion of the total land along the corridor.

Honestly it must get tiring for you to argue this case because of your support for the government and their plans rather than simply admitting I’m right and that you don’t care.

And that’s actually not an unreasonable position to have, you simply have to admit your support for the cross subsidisation and inequity but that you believe they’re worth it to get this project in place.

What is not reasonable or logical is to spruik the benefits of the project in relation to land sales and value capture (through higher rates) whilst simultaneously claiming that the cross subsidisation doesn’t occur (or failing to admit you support it).

Actually there is quite a bit of land being redeveloped, isn’t that one of the complaints of the anti mob? Cannot have it both ways. And don’t think I ever said anything about there being no cross subsidisation either, of course there is, but I don’t see what the issue is what so ever.

As for inequity, think we have covered this before, but there is inequity everywhere you look. To build and grow a city you are always taking money from existing residents in the form of rates and charges to spend in new areas. No where that I know of does anyone ever have 100% of the money they pay spend on them (which I assume is what you would call equity). Been through it before but when Tuggers was being built it received a disproportionate amount of money and fancy new stuff, paid for by others and paid for by land sales in Tuggeranong.

That money has now, well 20 years ago now moved to Gungahlin and soon enough will move to other new development areas. It is just the way it is, like it or not.

Stop obfuscating, Tuggeranong didn’t and has never received the sort of cross subsidisation involved with the Tram. In fact no, no other area has. For the final time, this is not the same as providing basic infrastructure to a new greenfield development area.

Simple question:

Do you support outer suburban residents paying thousands of dollars to benefit inner city landholders, the majority of which are relatively wealthy? Cross subsidisation that will equal tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for a project that had far cheaper alternative with almost equal benefits.

That’s it, own your position.

Although it’s clear why you don’t want to, because that would involve questioning your support for a political party who’s ideology is almost diametrically opposed to such ideals. Cognitive dissonance writ large.

Obfuscating? Oh touche….

So now you are breaking things down into what YOU think is essential/basic infrastructure and what YOU think is a luxury. To me provision of public transport is basic infrastructure, yeah yeah I know your ideological beliefs will say basic is road and a bus. Now imagine if in Sydney for example rail was considered a luxury and the City rail network wasn’t built. Afterall bus and road will do the job hey? Yeah yeah know you will say Canberra isn’t Sydney, but frankly Canberra, and the Flemmington Road/Northnorne Ave corridor are busier than other parts of Canberra so something else is needed. We cannot have more of the same, it just won’t work. Canberra cannot support more endless urban sprawl and more roads and more freeways and car parks.

As for this cross subsidisation nonsense. On one hand you argue inner city land holders will benefit from high land values, yet “others” are paying for it, presumably Tuggernaong residents. Never mind of course higher values=higher rates (one of you may complaints about the ACT government), so higher rates means they are paying more for any benefit they receive, so in essence paying for the very thing that is increasing land price.

Plus many examples of cross subsidastion all over town. Majura Parkway for example, $244m that benefits mostly Tuggernong and Gungahlin residents. Not much good to those that live in Belco or Woden is it? But they paid like everyone else did they not? Add all new suburbs, we are all paying for the infrastructure that is going into Molongolo now, but where are your complaints of cross subsidisation there?

And as for paying ‘thousands’, stage 1 light rail to build and run will cost $117 per person per year in 2017 terms to build, finance and run, less fare box income. And that is not factoring in population growth that will occur over the 20 year cost recovery cycle of the project which will reduce that figure in real terms.

Compare that to the $7000 that each person contributes to health ($4000) and education ($3000) or $2050 each person contributes to Action buses, roads (excluding projects that receive federal grants and funding) each year. Chicken feed really. But apparently it is going to bankrupt the town.

As for accepting the premise you put forward, to accept what you wrote, would mean accepting your assupmptions. However I clearly think your assumptions are flawed and as such your conclusion.

Is that Obfuscating? No that is putting it how I feel.

JC said :

KentFitch said :

The tram will not even have the same capacity as current ACTION bus services on the route. Each weekday between 8am and 9am, 30 ACTION bus services leave Gungahlin Town Centre and terminate or pass through Civic (2xx red rapid, and routes 56, 57, 58). These services have capacity for about 2127 passengers (1362 seated, 765 standing) and are frequently packed in the AM peak.

30? Really?

200×5
51/52/251/252×6
255×3
56×3
57×2
58×3
259×3

Makes 25….

Plus bus routes 56, 57 and 58 are local bus routes. Yes they go Gungahlin to the City, but not directly, and post light rail will still need to exist.

So the like for like comparison is actually the 200, 2xx buses of which there are 17 an hour.

Based on your average figures for standing and seating current capacity is actually 765 seated and 425 standing.

And even then I reckon some of the 2xx buses will stay around as they provide service beyond Civic to the Parl triangle, so in reality the real comparison is just the 200’s of which there are 5, for a capacity of 225 seated and 125 standing.

It seems Trump’s disease has spread to Canberra. So really, even bus timetables can be presented as alternative facts?

Here’s ACTION’s version of the truth:

route 2xx: https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://www.transport.act.gov.au/routes-and-timetables/weekday?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZmaWxlcy50cmFuc3BvcnQuYWN0Lmdvdi5hdSUyRkF1dG9UVCUyRnBkZnMlMkZyb3V0ZV8yMDAucGRmJmFsbD0x

route 56: https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://www.transport.act.gov.au/routes-and-timetables/weekday?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZmaWxlcy50cmFuc3BvcnQuYWN0Lmdvdi5hdSUyRkF1dG9UVCUyRnBkZnMlMkZyb3V0ZV81Ni5wZGYmYWxsPTE%3D

route 57: https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://www.transport.act.gov.au/routes-and-timetables/weekday?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZmaWxlcy50cmFuc3BvcnQuYWN0Lmdvdi5hdSUyRkF1dG9UVCUyRnBkZnMlMkZyb3V0ZV81Ny5wZGYmYWxsPTE%3D

route 58: https://web.archive.org/save/_embed/http://www.transport.act.gov.au/routes-and-timetables/weekday?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZmaWxlcy50cmFuc3BvcnQuYWN0Lmdvdi5hdSUyRkF1dG9UVCUyRnBkZnMlMkZyb3V0ZV81OC5wZGYmYWxsPTE%3D

Summarising the services you’re contesting exist, here are the services leaving Gungahlin for Civic between 8am and 8:59am inclusive, weekdays:

200: 801 814 830 845 (4)
202: 808 (1)
251: 811 826 842 (3)
252: 817 834 854 (3)
254: 803 815 833 850 (4)
255: 807 821 841 858 (4)
259: 805 820 839 (3)
56: 808 831 853 (3)
57: 818 839 (2)
58: 808 838 858 (3)
Total: 30 services

The 5x services take commuters directly from their suburbs (56 – Palmerston, 57 – Franklin, 58 – Harrison) to North Canberra and Civic, so commuters don’t first have to catch a bus to Gungahlin then wait and change to a 2xx service: it is nonsense to assert they don’t current provide both a significant and useful service to Civic, and it is also nonsense to suggest they will continue to Civic after the tram-line opens: the Government has made it abundantly clear they will not continue these bus services to North-Canberra/Civic, that they will terminate at Wells Station near the tram stop, and commuters will need to transfer to the tram. It is also nonsense to suggest that some 2xx services will “stay around” to compete with the tram and take commuters on to Russell, Parkes (and also other current popular destinations: Barton, Kingston, Fyshwick) as again, the ACT Government has clearly stated that there will be no buses leaving Gungahlin and travelling on either Flemington Rd or Northbourne Av competing with the tram (although even you can see the transport value in doing so). See pages 32-35 of Capital Metro Technical Paper 5 : https://web.archive.org/web/20160325204115/http://www.planning.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/41352/Capital_Metro_Light_Rail_Stage_1_Draft_EIS_Volume_03_Part_5-Traffic_and_Transport.pdf

The conclusion is clear: the tram project degrades rather than improves public transport, but then, this exercise shows that people who struggle to read a bus timetable are undoubtedly easy marks for government spin and obfuscation.

JC said :

chewy14 said :

“the bulk of the land for redevelopment”

ie. A miniscule portion of the total land along the corridor.

Honestly it must get tiring for you to argue this case because of your support for the government and their plans rather than simply admitting I’m right and that you don’t care.

And that’s actually not an unreasonable position to have, you simply have to admit your support for the cross subsidisation and inequity but that you believe they’re worth it to get this project in place.

What is not reasonable or logical is to spruik the benefits of the project in relation to land sales and value capture (through higher rates) whilst simultaneously claiming that the cross subsidisation doesn’t occur (or failing to admit you support it).

Actually there is quite a bit of land being redeveloped, isn’t that one of the complaints of the anti mob? Cannot have it both ways. And don’t think I ever said anything about there being no cross subsidisation either, of course there is, but I don’t see what the issue is what so ever.

As for inequity, think we have covered this before, but there is inequity everywhere you look. To build and grow a city you are always taking money from existing residents in the form of rates and charges to spend in new areas. No where that I know of does anyone ever have 100% of the money they pay spend on them (which I assume is what you would call equity). Been through it before but when Tuggers was being built it received a disproportionate amount of money and fancy new stuff, paid for by others and paid for by land sales in Tuggeranong.

That money has now, well 20 years ago now moved to Gungahlin and soon enough will move to other new development areas. It is just the way it is, like it or not.

Stop obfuscating, Tuggeranong didn’t and has never received the sort of cross subsidisation involved with the Tram. In fact no, no other area has. For the final time, this is not the same as providing basic infrastructure to a new greenfield development area.

Simple question:

Do you support outer suburban residents paying thousands of dollars to benefit inner city landholders, the majority of which are relatively wealthy? Cross subsidisation that will equal tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars for a project that had far cheaper alternative with almost equal benefits.

That’s it, own your position.

Although it’s clear why you don’t want to, because that would involve questioning your support for a political party who’s ideology is almost diametrically opposed to such ideals. Cognitive dissonance writ large.

KentFitch said :

The tram will not even have the same capacity as current ACTION bus services on the route. Each weekday between 8am and 9am, 30 ACTION bus services leave Gungahlin Town Centre and terminate or pass through Civic (2xx red rapid, and routes 56, 57, 58). These services have capacity for about 2127 passengers (1362 seated, 765 standing) and are frequently packed in the AM peak.

30? Really?

200×5
51/52/251/252×6
255×3
56×3
57×2
58×3
259×3

Makes 25….

Plus bus routes 56, 57 and 58 are local bus routes. Yes they go Gungahlin to the City, but not directly, and post light rail will still need to exist.

So the like for like comparison is actually the 200, 2xx buses of which there are 17 an hour.

Based on your average figures for standing and seating current capacity is actually 765 seated and 425 standing.

And even then I reckon some of the 2xx buses will stay around as they provide service beyond Civic to the Parl triangle, so in reality the real comparison is just the 200’s of which there are 5, for a capacity of 225 seated and 125 standing.

chewy14 said :

“the bulk of the land for redevelopment”

ie. A miniscule portion of the total land along the corridor.

Honestly it must get tiring for you to argue this case because of your support for the government and their plans rather than simply admitting I’m right and that you don’t care.

And that’s actually not an unreasonable position to have, you simply have to admit your support for the cross subsidisation and inequity but that you believe they’re worth it to get this project in place.

What is not reasonable or logical is to spruik the benefits of the project in relation to land sales and value capture (through higher rates) whilst simultaneously claiming that the cross subsidisation doesn’t occur (or failing to admit you support it).

Actually there is quite a bit of land being redeveloped, isn’t that one of the complaints of the anti mob? Cannot have it both ways. And don’t think I ever said anything about there being no cross subsidisation either, of course there is, but I don’t see what the issue is what so ever.

As for inequity, think we have covered this before, but there is inequity everywhere you look. To build and grow a city you are always taking money from existing residents in the form of rates and charges to spend in new areas. No where that I know of does anyone ever have 100% of the money they pay spend on them (which I assume is what you would call equity). Been through it before but when Tuggers was being built it received a disproportionate amount of money and fancy new stuff, paid for by others and paid for by land sales in Tuggeranong.

That money has now, well 20 years ago now moved to Gungahlin and soon enough will move to other new development areas. It is just the way it is, like it or not.

“The rest of us will be sitting in traffic or at a bus stop wondering whether we’ve missed our bus and will have to wait another 25 minutes for the next one, while the light rail commuters will have certainty and stress free travel.”
I’m an inner-city faux-boho type and even I don’t use public transport. I just don’t see the Gungahlin demographic as the sort of people who will walk/ride kilometres to a light rail stop. I read on one of the hoardings that the ride will be 24 minutes – that is quite a long time by Canberra standards, for such a short distance. I predict that Gungahlinites won’t want to use the light rail, and the government will resort to some quite nasty disincentives to drive, in order to force them onto the light rail.

bringontheevidence said :

dungfungus said :

“They’ll be wandering down to their nearest light rail stop, tapping on and sitting down to read a book or listen to a podcast while they enjoy a smooth ride on state of the art public transport to their destination.”

Oh no they won’t!

Trams are designed for mass transit commuting and they will more than likely have to stand so good luck to them, reading that book in one hand and clutching the grab strap with the other.

You can’t have it both ways Dung. The light rail business case only expected around 50-60 per cent capacity during peaks, so plenty of sitting room for everyone except the last ones on the tram near the city.

Either you accept

a) the tram will be much more popular than expected, meaning the economic benefits far exceed the level set out in the business case but only few people get a seat, or
b) the tram gets the expected level of patronage and everyone with a longer trip still gets a seat, or
c) patronage is lower than expected but everyone gets a seat for every trip.

The tram will not even have the same capacity as current ACTION bus services on the route. Each weekday between 8am and 9am, 30 ACTION bus services leave Gungahlin Town Centre and terminate or pass through Civic (2xx red rapid, and routes 56, 57, 58). These services have capacity for about 2127 passengers (1362 seated, 765 standing) and are frequently packed in the AM peak.

But over that same peak hour, 10 tram services will have capacity for just 2070 passengers (660 seated, 1410 standing). Between now and the the tram-line completion, Gungahlin’s population will increase by many thousands.

Just under 32% of the tram’s capacity is seated. To provide any improvement in public transport capacity, longer trams need to be purchased (which won’t fit on the platforms being constructed and will draw more power) or run more frequently (more trams needed, even greater disruption to other other traffic at signals, including bus traffic crossing and around the route, and their aggregate will draw more power). But no improvement in public transport is intended.

The ACT Gov’s “Transport for Canberra” (2012) [ https://web.archive.org/web/20130410115809/http://www.transport.act.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/397245/Pages_from_EDS_ACT_Transport_Policy_FA_final_web.pdf ] plan was for “… a transport system that puts people first … [that] will make our city a better place to live, work and do business, and a more accessible place where it is easy for everyone to get around.” It stipulated rapid intertown services with an average speed of 40 km/hr (including stops) [Table 2].

I reckon the tram project was started in good faith, but when it became apparent it couldn’t meet the goals of “Transport for Canberra”, those responsible felt they had made too many uninformed commitments to a tram to backtrack, so instead broke faith with the commitment that mattered: to a better transport system.

The contortions to frame the tram as a “transport solution” for the Gungahlin-Civic route are are tortuous and transparent as those pitching “clean coal”, except of course to the faithful for whom facts are malleable, at least in the short run.

Some other jurisdictions are served by smart politicians and advisors who get the big picture of lowering carbon, cheaper and safer transport, better use of existing infrastructure and universal mobility: http://www.c40.org/blog_posts/c40-mayors-prepare-their-cities-for-autonomous-vehicles And their consultants, advisors, engineers are supporting them: http://driverlessfuture.webflow.io/ , http://www.wsp-pb.com/Globaln/UK/WSPPB-Farrells-AV-whitepaper.pdf
[yes, that second link comes from Parsons Brinckerhoff, who performed much of the analysis work for Capital Metro]

JC said :

chewy14 said :

Because the government isn’t the sole landowner along the corridor is it now?
Thanks for making my point though, the government is funding it, yet the landowners gain a massive cross subsidised benefit.

Actually it owns the bulk of the land being offered for redevelopment. But even when it doesn’t the government will still takes in more money from the corridor than it does now through stamp duty and rates.

3 2 1 queue an anti ACT Government rant about rates…

“the bulk of the land for redevelopment”

ie. A miniscule portion of the total land along the corridor.

Honestly it must get tiring for you to argue this case because of your support for the government and their plans rather than simply admitting I’m right and that you don’t care.

And that’s actually not an unreasonable position to have, you simply have to admit your support for the cross subsidisation and inequity but that you believe they’re worth it to get this project in place.

What is not reasonable or logical is to spruik the benefits of the project in relation to land sales and value capture (through higher rates) whilst simultaneously claiming that the cross subsidisation doesn’t occur (or failing to admit you support it).

bringontheevidence5:57 pm 17 Mar 17

dungfungus said :

“They’ll be wandering down to their nearest light rail stop, tapping on and sitting down to read a book or listen to a podcast while they enjoy a smooth ride on state of the art public transport to their destination.”

Oh no they won’t!

Trams are designed for mass transit commuting and they will more than likely have to stand so good luck to them, reading that book in one hand and clutching the grab strap with the other.

You can’t have it both ways Dung. The light rail business case only expected around 50-60 per cent capacity during peaks, so plenty of sitting room for everyone except the last ones on the tram near the city.

Either you accept

a) the tram will be much more popular than expected, meaning the economic benefits far exceed the level set out in the business case but only few people get a seat, or
b) the tram gets the expected level of patronage and everyone with a longer trip still gets a seat, or
c) patronage is lower than expected but everyone gets a seat for every trip.

JC said :

dungfungus said :

Finally, this is sure to happen in Canberra so no further comment:
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article138841088.html

For sure it will, just like there are accidents involving buses:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/woman-dead-after-she-was-hit-by-bus-in-manuka-20140910-10f2l4.html

or the dozen or so other car/vehicle accidents each year that cause death and the thousands that cause injury or just damage.

So don’t quite follow your point.

My point is that no one has been killed by a tram in Canberra, yet.

chewy14 said :

Because the government isn’t the sole landowner along the corridor is it now?
Thanks for making my point though, the government is funding it, yet the landowners gain a massive cross subsidised benefit.

Actually it owns the bulk of the land being offered for redevelopment. But even when it doesn’t the government will still takes in more money from the corridor than it does now through stamp duty and rates.

3 2 1 queue an anti ACT Government rant about rates…

dungfungus said :

Finally, this is sure to happen in Canberra so no further comment:
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article138841088.html

For sure it will, just like there are accidents involving buses:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/woman-dead-after-she-was-hit-by-bus-in-manuka-20140910-10f2l4.html

or the dozen or so other car/vehicle accidents each year that cause death and the thousands that cause injury or just damage.

So don’t quite follow your point.

I also won’t live near the (first) tram and therefore will rarely use it, but I am pleased we are getting this. Although I use buses, I have only once caught the bus to Gungahlin for instance. We need to start somewhere and maybe one day I will have a closer tram too.

I am not planning to move in the near future, but I can see the attraction of living near the tram though. I find governments that have vision attractive, and getting the tram is forward thinking. In the same way I find extending the hydro scheme forward thinking. (I don’t believe it will solve all the power needs, but it’s part of the bigger picture.) Sadly many contributes to this site appear to want politicians without any forward vision. Same old, same nothing!

Charlotte Harper said :

chewy14 said :

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

I’m so glad that people who live along the route will be given tax payer subsidised gifts of hundreds of thousands of dollars to their land value.

Not at all. I live two bus rides from what will be the nearest tram stop and will therefore not benefit from the land value as you imply. I will therefore not be a direct beneficiary as a daily commuter or property owner.

Have you ever gone to a restaurant with a mate, ordered a salad whilst they had wagyu, then agreed to split the bill?

And then afterwards raved on social media about how juicy and tasty the steak that you didn’t have looked?

I think you’d enjoy it.

Charlotte Harper2:55 pm 17 Mar 17

chewy14 said :

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

I’m so glad that people who live along the route will be given tax payer subsidised gifts of hundreds of thousands of dollars to their land value.

Not at all. I live two bus rides from what will be the nearest tram stop and will therefore not benefit from the land value as you imply. I will therefore not be a direct beneficiary as a daily commuter or property owner.

“They’ll be wandering down to their nearest light rail stop, tapping on and sitting down to read a book or listen to a podcast while they enjoy a smooth ride on state of the art public transport to their destination.”

Oh no they won’t!

Trams are designed for mass transit commuting and they will more than likely have to stand so good luck to them, reading that book in one hand and clutching the grab strap with the other.

They are great photos – being taken at night the trams look half-nice; I suppose that is because we can’t see the ugly wirescape above them that goes everywhere they do.

Finally, this is sure to happen in Canberra so no further comment:
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article138841088.html

JC said :

chewy14 said :

watto23 said :

bruce_lord said :

You mean the Tuggeranong population which has been about 25% of the total ACT population for two decades but received nothing like 25% of the ACT budget.

This might be an early candidate for least credible argument of the year. You can argue for the merits of the light rail but it’s a bit rich to argue that Tuggeranong has received too much funding at the expense of the rest of canberra.

That is not how funding a city really works. Newer areas always get the majority of funding. There was a time when Tuggeranong was 10% of the population and probably received 40-50% of the budget expenditure. Gungahlin spend will wind down and it will move to Molonglo. As a Tuggeranong resident i definitely can see areas that money needs to be spent on, but this whinging about subsidising the tram is ridiculous. Tuggeranong also has the cheapest rates in Canberra.

Instead of being a bunch of whingers, how about finding some positive areas to spend money on. Our roads are generally pretty good, every morning I drive to and from work and hear all about the traffic jams elsewhere! My thoughts are the area around Erindale definately needs fixing up and there was a masterplan done, but nothing since then. Also the proposed ice sports facility in Tuggers, lets build that.

This is incorrect, the funding of basic services and infrastructure for new areas isn’t usually subsidised heavily by other ratepayers/taxpayers, it’s funded by the sale of the land.

And once again, this isn’t a project providing essential services to a new area so the point is moot.

Actually it is a combination of both, consolidated revenue (money from rates, charges, Commonwealth grants) and yes land sales.

As for your last line, unless I am mistaken part of the light rail justification is increased density along the corridor, which of course means land (and apartment) sales. So in reality you are saying that the light rail is being self funded by the corridor it serves. So why the complaints?

Because the government isn’t the sole landowner along the corridor is it now?
Thanks for making my point though, the government is funding it, yet the landowners gain a massive cross subsidised benefit.

Michael McGoogan9:42 am 17 Mar 17

@bruce_lord I have sent you an email to your @iinet.net.au email on your RiotACT profile. Please check that email or update your profile and re-comment.

watto23 said :

bruce_lord said :

You mean the Tuggeranong population which has been about 25% of the total ACT population for two decades but received nothing like 25% of the ACT budget.

This might be an early candidate for least credible argument of the year. You can argue for the merits of the light rail but it’s a bit rich to argue that Tuggeranong has received too much funding at the expense of the rest of canberra.

That is not how funding a city really works. Newer areas always get the majority of funding. There was a time when Tuggeranong was 10% of the population and probably received 40-50% of the budget expenditure. Gungahlin spend will wind down and it will move to Molonglo. As a Tuggeranong resident i definitely can see areas that money needs to be spent on, but this whinging about subsidising the tram is ridiculous. Tuggeranong also has the cheapest rates in Canberra.

Instead of being a bunch of whingers, how about finding some positive areas to spend money on. Our roads are generally pretty good, every morning I drive to and from work and hear all about the traffic jams elsewhere! My thoughts are the area around Erindale definately needs fixing up and there was a masterplan done, but nothing since then. Also the proposed ice sports facility in Tuggers, lets build that.

Good comments.

chewy14 said :

watto23 said :

bruce_lord said :

You mean the Tuggeranong population which has been about 25% of the total ACT population for two decades but received nothing like 25% of the ACT budget.

This might be an early candidate for least credible argument of the year. You can argue for the merits of the light rail but it’s a bit rich to argue that Tuggeranong has received too much funding at the expense of the rest of canberra.

That is not how funding a city really works. Newer areas always get the majority of funding. There was a time when Tuggeranong was 10% of the population and probably received 40-50% of the budget expenditure. Gungahlin spend will wind down and it will move to Molonglo. As a Tuggeranong resident i definitely can see areas that money needs to be spent on, but this whinging about subsidising the tram is ridiculous. Tuggeranong also has the cheapest rates in Canberra.

Instead of being a bunch of whingers, how about finding some positive areas to spend money on. Our roads are generally pretty good, every morning I drive to and from work and hear all about the traffic jams elsewhere! My thoughts are the area around Erindale definately needs fixing up and there was a masterplan done, but nothing since then. Also the proposed ice sports facility in Tuggers, lets build that.

This is incorrect, the funding of basic services and infrastructure for new areas isn’t usually subsidised heavily by other ratepayers/taxpayers, it’s funded by the sale of the land.

And once again, this isn’t a project providing essential services to a new area so the point is moot.

Actually it is a combination of both, consolidated revenue (money from rates, charges, Commonwealth grants) and yes land sales.

As for your last line, unless I am mistaken part of the light rail justification is increased density along the corridor, which of course means land (and apartment) sales. So in reality you are saying that the light rail is being self funded by the corridor it serves. So why the complaints?

watto23 said :

bruce_lord said :

You mean the Tuggeranong population which has been about 25% of the total ACT population for two decades but received nothing like 25% of the ACT budget.

This might be an early candidate for least credible argument of the year. You can argue for the merits of the light rail but it’s a bit rich to argue that Tuggeranong has received too much funding at the expense of the rest of canberra.

That is not how funding a city really works. Newer areas always get the majority of funding. There was a time when Tuggeranong was 10% of the population and probably received 40-50% of the budget expenditure. Gungahlin spend will wind down and it will move to Molonglo. As a Tuggeranong resident i definitely can see areas that money needs to be spent on, but this whinging about subsidising the tram is ridiculous. Tuggeranong also has the cheapest rates in Canberra.

Instead of being a bunch of whingers, how about finding some positive areas to spend money on. Our roads are generally pretty good, every morning I drive to and from work and hear all about the traffic jams elsewhere! My thoughts are the area around Erindale definately needs fixing up and there was a masterplan done, but nothing since then. Also the proposed ice sports facility in Tuggers, lets build that.

This is incorrect, the funding of basic services and infrastructure for new areas isn’t usually subsidised heavily by other ratepayers/taxpayers, it’s funded by the sale of the land.

And once again, this isn’t a project providing essential services to a new area so the point is moot.

bruce_lord said :

You mean the Tuggeranong population which has been about 25% of the total ACT population for two decades but received nothing like 25% of the ACT budget.

This might be an early candidate for least credible argument of the year. You can argue for the merits of the light rail but it’s a bit rich to argue that Tuggeranong has received too much funding at the expense of the rest of canberra.

That is not how funding a city really works. Newer areas always get the majority of funding. There was a time when Tuggeranong was 10% of the population and probably received 40-50% of the budget expenditure. Gungahlin spend will wind down and it will move to Molonglo. As a Tuggeranong resident i definitely can see areas that money needs to be spent on, but this whinging about subsidising the tram is ridiculous. Tuggeranong also has the cheapest rates in Canberra.

Instead of being a bunch of whingers, how about finding some positive areas to spend money on. Our roads are generally pretty good, every morning I drive to and from work and hear all about the traffic jams elsewhere! My thoughts are the area around Erindale definately needs fixing up and there was a masterplan done, but nothing since then. Also the proposed ice sports facility in Tuggers, lets build that.

Skyring said :

bryansworld said :

Autonomous cars don’t cause congestion? Truly amazing technology.

Indeed. You should research the tech. It’s more than just replacing the driver. Robot cars can increase traffic flow because they can travel closer together, faster, travel through intersections far quicker. There won’t be as many cars parked on the sides of streets, or cruising around looking for a park.

This is a paradigm shift, and the advantages in efficiency, economics, energy use, and environment will make trams even more obsolete.

You’re like the English rejecting telephones because they have plenty of message boys, or IBM stating that the world market for computers is ten.

Au contraire. You are like the guy that thinks a newer, better typewriter is the future of word processing.

JC said :

chewy14 said :

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

You mean a bit like all the money that has been put into Tuggeranong over the past 20 years that I have helped pay for but don’t directly benefit from? Or all the schools I help pay for but don’t have school aged children yet (soon one will be) or the money I pay for hospitals but never use? All that hey?

You mean the Tuggeranong population which has been about 25% of the total ACT population for two decades but received nothing like 25% of the ACT budget.

This might be an early candidate for least credible argument of the year. You can argue for the merits of the light rail but it’s a bit rich to argue that Tuggeranong has received too much funding at the expense of the rest of canberra.

I hope your kids do well at school and I will happily have my rates and taxes cover their and all kids education. I also hope your kids don’t have their school closed on them by the government partway through their schooling. Like many Tuggeranong kids suffered (including my grandkids).

JC said :

You mean a bit like all the money that has been put into Tuggeranong over the past 20 years that I have helped pay for but don’t directly benefit from? Or all the schools I help pay for but don’t have school aged children yet (soon one will be) or the money I pay for hospitals but never use? All that hey?

As u well know, those comparisons are hardly the same. There are schools and hospitals in other parts of Canberra too, but that doesn’t suit your passive Tuggeranong bashing arguments I suppose.

HiddenDragon said :

chewy14 said :

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

I’m so glad that people who live along the route will be given tax payer subsidised gifts of hundreds of thousands of dollars to their land value.

The propery value windfalls may not be nearly as great as some are anticipating. Those who genuinely are (i.e. not just in real estate agent-speak) “a short stroll” from a tram stop will likely do well, but others who are close, or relatively so, to the line, but not to a stop, might find that the bonanza does not quite materialise – unless, of course, proximity to a line (even if not a stop) becomes an excuse for re-zoning for dual occupancy or more.

Whatever the actual outcome, valuations for annual rates purposes are highly likely to increase more quickly than for properties distant from a tramline.

They’ve already gone up 20+% in the last couple of years in the inner north based on speculation of this happening, and that’s only the beginning now that construction has begun.

The main benefits of the project in the government’s own analysis was based around this growth in land value.

bryansworld said :

Autonomous cars don’t cause congestion? Truly amazing technology.

Indeed. You should research the tech. It’s more than just replacing the driver. Robot cars can increase traffic flow because they can travel closer together, faster, travel through intersections far quicker. There won’t be as many cars parked on the sides of streets, or cruising around looking for a park.

This is a paradigm shift, and the advantages in efficiency, economics, energy use, and environment will make trams even more obsolete.

You’re like the English rejecting telephones because they have plenty of message boys, or IBM stating that the world market for computers is ten.

JC said :

chewy14 said :

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

You mean a bit like all the money that has been put into Tuggeranong over the past 20 years that I have helped pay for but don’t directly benefit from? Or all the schools I help pay for but don’t have school aged children yet (soon one will be) or the money I pay for hospitals but never use? All that hey?

No, nothing like that and as you’ve already said we’ve been over this issue multiple times so don’t try and misreprent it.

This is not providing an essential service across the community at similar levels that has been provided elsewhere. It is providing a small proportion of the population with far higher (and expensive) service levels that will result in a private windfall benefit to those areas paid for by other ratepayers.

It is cross-subsidisation far beyond anything that has happened in other areas.

I honestly don’t know why you willfully misrepresent the point when it was even raised in the government’s own reports discussing funding mechanisms like direct taxes on the landholders to value-capture some of the windfall.

An option that was summarily rejected by a government that unsurprisingly had an election to win. If they actually believed in the benefits they claim will flow, they could have tested it by levying the taxes and seeing how the public voted at the election. I wonder why they didn’t.

How did those areas gaining the windfall benefit vote again? Oh……

chewy14 said :

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

You mean a bit like all the money that has been put into Tuggeranong over the past 20 years that I have helped pay for but don’t directly benefit from? Or all the schools I help pay for but don’t have school aged children yet (soon one will be) or the money I pay for hospitals but never use? All that hey?

HiddenDragon4:46 pm 15 Mar 17

chewy14 said :

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

I’m so glad that people who live along the route will be given tax payer subsidised gifts of hundreds of thousands of dollars to their land value.

The propery value windfalls may not be nearly as great as some are anticipating. Those who genuinely are (i.e. not just in real estate agent-speak) “a short stroll” from a tram stop will likely do well, but others who are close, or relatively so, to the line, but not to a stop, might find that the bonanza does not quite materialise – unless, of course, proximity to a line (even if not a stop) becomes an excuse for re-zoning for dual occupancy or more.

Whatever the actual outcome, valuations for annual rates purposes are highly likely to increase more quickly than for properties distant from a tramline.

The_Other_Hendo said :

I’ll miss the trees – was sad to see the progress of them being cut down when I was in Canberra in January.

But I understand they were never part of the original plans for Canberra.

The light rail will be absolutely fantastic and I only wish I could have it in my town which is a regional one and has nowhere near the funding to do such things. I watched it happen on the Gold Coast over the last couple of years and it’s been fantastic for the area – we need to bring it back all over Australia in city and town areas.

The trees will be replaced, with about double the number of them in fact. So fear not it won’t be a concrete strip of nothingness.

crackerpants1:33 pm 15 Mar 17

chewy14 said :

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

I’m so glad that people who live along the route will be given tax payer subsidised gifts of hundreds of thousands of dollars to their land value.

That’s how I read it. Just as she also recently flipped the bird to “whining” ex-ressies of Bruce Hall in a similar puff piece.

The_Other_Hendo said :

I’ll miss the trees – was sad to see the progress of them being cut down when I was in Canberra in January.

But I understand they were never part of the original plans for Canberra.

The light rail will be absolutely fantastic and I only wish I could have it in my town which is a regional one and has nowhere near the funding to do such things. I watched it happen on the Gold Coast over the last couple of years and it’s been fantastic for the area – we need to bring it back all over Australia in city and town areas.

Don’t be too despondent, Canberra has nowhere near the funding either, but look at us go!!

chewy14 said :

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

Reads like it, doesn’t it. Though its an “opinion” piece, it could have just as easily been a press release from the ACT Labor/Greens Govt !

The_Other_Hendo10:17 am 15 Mar 17

I’ll miss the trees – was sad to see the progress of them being cut down when I was in Canberra in January.

But I understand they were never part of the original plans for Canberra.

The light rail will be absolutely fantastic and I only wish I could have it in my town which is a regional one and has nowhere near the funding to do such things. I watched it happen on the Gold Coast over the last couple of years and it’s been fantastic for the area – we need to bring it back all over Australia in city and town areas.

Is this article supposed to be a big “stuff you” to the majority of the ACT paying for the light rail who will never be beneficiaries of it?

I’m so glad that people who live along the route will be given tax payer subsidised gifts of hundreds of thousands of dollars to their land value.

KentFitch, those before and after images of the Gold Coast remind me of Joni Mitchell’s song. Here they literally paved Surfers Paradise. Didn’t bother about saving the trees for no museum, though. Just cut them down and threw ’em away..

When did the Greens quit being green? The same thing is happening to Canberra: remove the green and open areas, add poles and concrete. That’s their flagship program.

The case for the tram never stacked up. Canberra’s not that sort of city. It’s not long and skinny like the Gold Coast – even if you like the loss of trees and grass – and it’s not Melbourne. Trying to retrofit Northbourne Avenue to make it like Melbourne or the Gold Coast is not going to work, not unless you think a canyon of high-rise looking down on poles and cement is a step in either direction.

This stupid tram is Trumpism. “I’m going to build a tram, and make the people pay for it.” Like Trump, those who voted for this thing are going to be the ones worst off – the Greens would rather we ditch the family car, replace the freedom and convenience with a trip along an arid cityscape to a set of destinations crowded with others equally constrained, where we consume as much as our reduced disposable incomes will allow.

And, like Trump, there’s no getting off this roller-coaster.

KentFitch said :

Capital Metro’s own modelling shows that the tram will increase congestion: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/faq.html#eisapend . The two main reasons are 1) road capacity is reduced by tram priority at signals, including for traffic travelling across the route 2) increased population due to increased density along the route encouraged by the ACT Government.

Unfortunately, neither spending on roads nor public transport reduces congestion in cities such as Canberra [ “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities” http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/aer.101.6.2616 ]

And only in people’s imagination does increasing density make more than a very marginal change in reducing private-vehicle-km-driven in cities such as Canberra
[ “Urban form and driving: Evidence from US cities” http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Economics/Faculty/Matthew_Turner/papers/unpublished/Duranton_Turner_unp2016.pdf ] .

Bizarrely, the tram in 2019 will carry fewer passengers than current AM peak buses from Gungahlin to Civic do now, and less than half the number of seated passengers.

And for some “before-and-after” daylight shots of how the tram transformed Gold Coast street scape, have at look at Google Street View images compared here: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/GCLR.html

What would work now is congestion charging. What will work in 2021 when Ford, GM, Nissan, BMW and others have promised to have shared fleets of autonomous vehicles on the road is the efficient use of the existing roads by vehicle sharing (2 to 4 people per car in peak periods) providing door-to-door, 24×7 on demand and universal mobility as a service at less than half the price-per-km of a private car: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/

Autonomous cars don’t cause congestion? Truly amazing technology. You are simply delaying the inevitable. As Canberra gets bigger and population density increases, mass transit systems will come into their own. You can have all traffic jams you like in your autonomous car.

It’s the same old same old all over again. Everytime there is a light rail article.

Decision has been made construction started, give it a rest.

Capital Metro’s own modelling shows that the tram will increase congestion: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/faq.html#eisapend . The two main reasons are 1) road capacity is reduced by tram priority at signals, including for traffic travelling across the route 2) increased population due to increased density along the route encouraged by the ACT Government.

Unfortunately, neither spending on roads nor public transport reduces congestion in cities such as Canberra [ “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities” http://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/aer.101.6.2616 ]

And only in people’s imagination does increasing density make more than a very marginal change in reducing private-vehicle-km-driven in cities such as Canberra
[ “Urban form and driving: Evidence from US cities” http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Economics/Faculty/Matthew_Turner/papers/unpublished/Duranton_Turner_unp2016.pdf ] .

Bizarrely, the tram in 2019 will carry fewer passengers than current AM peak buses from Gungahlin to Civic do now, and less than half the number of seated passengers.

And for some “before-and-after” daylight shots of how the tram transformed Gold Coast street scape, have at look at Google Street View images compared here: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/GCLR.html

What would work now is congestion charging. What will work in 2021 when Ford, GM, Nissan, BMW and others have promised to have shared fleets of autonomous vehicles on the road is the efficient use of the existing roads by vehicle sharing (2 to 4 people per car in peak periods) providing door-to-door, 24×7 on demand and universal mobility as a service at less than half the price-per-km of a private car: http://canberraautonomouscars.info/

That poll asks us to vote for a false dichotomy. In time, people will forget the pain, as long as the running of the tram is smooth, as long as it is well funded, advertised, and utilised. Another reader commented on the differences between Canberra and the Gold Coast, and I agree, but my experience is from Adelaide, where the tram is awesome. Im looking forward to new links with Belconnen, Kingston, and Woden in the future.

Holden Caulfield4:01 pm 14 Mar 17

Even if we forget the inconvenience, it’s unlikely we will forget the cost and inevitable budget blowouts.

HiddenDragon3:49 pm 14 Mar 17

“Canberrans will be scrambling to move to or invest in a suburb along the route as the project nears completion…..” – and the value capture taxes are introduced.

What a load of claptrap. The Gold Coast is a long skinny city with skyscrapers. Everything worth traveling to is within a couple of hundred metres of the water’s edge.

Canberra, not so much.

You can take the estimates for cost, construction time and inconvenience, and double them. Based on previous projects.

And you know what? The tram is last century’s transport system. Less flexible and more expensive than buses, it demands a mode change for anyone who doesn’t live and work within a few hundred metres.

Self-driving electric cars are coming. In fact they are here already. What’s coming are the systems of regulation and control.

Assuming that total cost of ownership of a robot car is about the same as a large family sedan – $250 a week – you can run one of them as an Uber 24/7 charging a dollar a ride and with two rides an hour – standard for an Uber – you’ll make 50% profit.

With low cost door-to-door transport a tap on the phone away, what idiot is going to hike several hundred metres in the cold or the sun to pay ten bucks for a tram ride with another hike at the far end?

wildturkeycanoe2:48 pm 14 Mar 17

“The rest of us will feel smug as we cruise through our daily commutes”
Yeah, sorry but no we won’t. Now that diversions are in place, more people will be filling the other routes into Civic from Gungahlin, so the Barton Highway, Ginninderra Drive, MacArthur Avenue and Belconnen Way/Barry Drive will be busier than ever. You haven’t mentioned the carnage the roadworks are causing to traffic crossing Northbourne Avenue, which is backing up in to the suburbs. Nobody has it easy now.

“at a bus stop wondering whether we’ve missed our bus and will have to wait another 25 minutes for the next one”. Has this not already been remedied by the dollars spent on Myway and Nxtbus, which not only tells you if you’ve missed the bus but when the next one is coming? Has not the government said that more buses will be available to service other areas of Canberra once the tram is running, meaning all Canberran’s benefit with extra frequency of services? As per the ACT light rail website – “The start of light rail service in late 2018 will free up over one million bus kilometres that can be allocated across the ACTION Bus network. It is the equivalent of buying a new fleet of buses and extra drivers.”. Or has the government already back-flipped on these promises?

“Not convinced? Try commuting from the suburbs to the city in Sydney during peak hour. There’s a reason everyone tries to live on a train, ferry or light rail line in the harbour city. Cars are a passport to hell.”
Well Canberra doesn’t have a harbour, nor anywhere near the population of Sydney. In Canberra cars are almost a necessity, thanks to the point you just made about the wait times for public transport. In Sydney a commute by public transport might only take you twenty minutes where a car could be an hour or more. In Canberra it is the other way around and cars are much faster than the meandering bus networks.

I don’t see why we still need to be convinced of the benefits of the tram when it is already a foregone conclusion. If you think that advertising is needed to drum up support and patronage, then the scheme’s feasibility study had some serious flaws.

Serina Huang2:06 pm 14 Mar 17

Having just moved around the corner from a light rail terminal, I am super looking forward to it being up and running. I think it is going to really transform the inner North corridor and help make Gunghalin even more livable.

Paul Costigan12:46 pm 14 Mar 17

agree – it will be good one day soon and even better when the rest of the network gets going. I am at the wrong end of Dickson to have easy access but still think it will be great. When in Sydney or Melbourne my Opal and my MyKi cards get used often. Have a couple of cards for other places overseas – it is the way to go!

I really hope that they get the landscape design and architecture right – golden opportunity has presented itself for Canberra to do good design (not the usual crap) – I have my fingers crossed.

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