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Light Rail marches on…

By johnboy 19 December 2008 36

The light rail nerds are celebrating the ACT Government including their pet project in the wishlist for infrastructure funding.

    ““In these troubled economic times, there is no doubt that a significant project to implement Light Rail will help keep the ACT economy buoyant. It will provide ongoing economic stimuli through related development, urban design and investment, as well as addressing the longer term public transport infrastructure and environmental issues”, stated Mr. Reynolds.

    The project is listed in the Infrastructure Australia report as a single line item at $2.95billion, however very little is actually known about what was contained in the bid from the ACT Government to Infrastructure Australia as the final document has not been released to the public. “

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Light Rail marches on…
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Pandy 4:28 pm 26 Dec 08

JR and ACTLight Rail have a very tough time convincing abyone that light rail is an option for Canberra when not so long ago they were denying that it would cost $1 billion to build a system for Canberra, when now the figure is $3 billion and the ACT Government is not talking/releasing documents to them anymore. Is this the reason why one of the peak construction groups ditched light rail only a couple of weeks ago and said instead build rapid transit because they saw the writting on the wall?

Also Mr Eddigton, the chair of Infrastructure Australia, was never a fan of light rail from his previous UK reports that ACT Light Rail called a fantasy. And then this from “Australia’s Infrastructure Priorities Securing our Prosperity”

The construction of new or expanding existing light rail
systems is only of benefit in high density population areas
such as Sydney, the Gold Coast or Adelaide’s CBD.

Also last week, the Sydney papers where stating that the NSW Government where looking at bus ways as a cheaper and more efficient system than light rail for there abandoned heavy rail expansion plans.

Time for ACT light Rail to pack their ball and go home?

ChrisinTurner 11:48 am 26 Dec 08

PM said :

Oh – and many European cities of our size have light rail and don’t think twice about it.

Berlin has about the same area as Canberra but has ten times our population! Light Rail would probably drive Canberra broke.

The $3B comes from the ACT submission to the Infrastructure Australia wish list. See http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/canberra-projects-on-short-list-for-200b-spree/1391664.aspx

H1NG0 8:22 am 23 Dec 08

Light Rail would be the shiz. Unfortunately it will never happen.

gooterz 4:12 am 23 Dec 08

Light rail attracts a certain type of person.. busses are great for old people that like going slow.. but for those that like to live 5 minutes from work and want to live somewhere nice out of the city light rail is going to seem attractive. Your going to see heaps of more dense appartments near the stops for the rail. or not from from them.. light rail is a chance to make part of canberra more dense and more happening.. a faster lifestyle then the rest of canberra thats quite a few beats slower than parts of the other major cities.

To most people in canberra light rail is more a statement than anything else.

monomania 4:29 pm 21 Dec 08

PM said :

I meant to say “drinking water”.

And it’s also a good thing that we can use this “drinking water” for most other watery purposes because dams are the cheapest way of providing it, if attached to a reticulated water system. (I know, not the topic)

radonezh 3:20 pm 21 Dec 08

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Why don’t we take the $3B and use it to widen all major roads in and around Canberra, and to build large subterranean parking lots. It would go a long, long way to reducing traffic issues. Hell, you could have dedicated bus lanes everywhere!

[SARCASM ON]
But why widen roads for a town of only 350k people? What a waste of money! The roads are empty! They should be narrowed instead of widened! And come to think about it, why have all these suburban centres spread out so far apart? It’s a country town not a city.. they should spend the money moving them all closer together!!
[SARCASM OFF]

Yeah.. it’s flawed logic all right. The cost/benefits of ANY transport project rarely add up in “today’s” dollars. There are reasons to build railways (both heavy and light) which go beyond the immediately quantifiable dollar figures.

Check it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzENECOgaF4

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymXMS97wQZQ&feature=related

Granny 2:40 pm 21 Dec 08

I am really excited about it. If it is done sensibly it could really revolutionise public transport in this city, and that really does need to happen.

Jonathon Reynolds 2:15 pm 21 Dec 08

Gungahlin Al said :

Where the hell did this $3B figure come from??

PM said :

And I don’t know where $3b came from.

No one seems to know where the $2.95 billion figure came from.

In a question without notice asked in the Assembly on 9 December 2008 – Jon Stanhope admitted that the (draft) submission prepared by PWC was sent through to Infrastructure Australia without any scrutiny or assessment by the Government (or Opposition as the submission occured during the caretaker period).

See from 5:30 onwards: http://actlightrail.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=83&Itemid=1

Having called the Chief Ministers office on Friday and spoken with one of his advisors Jasmina Jonceski, she advised me that the Government/Chief Minister still has not seen the submission that had been made and the government will not release a copy of the draft document that was actually submitted to Infrastructure Australia.

PM 1:02 pm 21 Dec 08

Oh – and many European cities of our size have light rail and don’t think twice about it.

PM 1:01 pm 21 Dec 08

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Perhaps building rail between town centres and focusing buses on local areas would work better. The buses could also be smaller.

I believe that’s the plan being requested by the Light Rail Assoc. Feeder buses would be smaller and able service the suburbs more efficiently. Then you’d have the intertown routes managed by light rail.

And I don’t know where $3b came from. That might be the cost if it included underground stations etc.

Perhaps building rail between town centres and focusing buses on local areas would work better. The buses could also be smaller.

If you think about cities where public transport works well, they all seem to have trams and/or trains.

Think about cities where it works REALLY well. The rail often isn’t at grounf level, but above or below instead. Also, these cities have populations typically 10 times of Canberra or more, in a similar or smaller area. In such cities, rail works because it’s the only viable public transport. The roads couldn’t physically carry the traffic!

The ‘if you build it they will come’ thing really doesn’t work for me. I’d much rather see an approach where we said “we have $3B to sort out transport – how should we do this”? Simply tipping $$ into buses also isn’t the answer – the answer includes roads, cars, motorbikes, scooters, pedal power, and probably a range of other things as well.

But blindly building a rail system without very serious consideration of the alternatives is a great way to waste our money and resources and damage our environment.

PM 12:35 pm 21 Dec 08

I meant to say “drinking water”.

PM 12:35 pm 21 Dec 08

cranky said :

I have no idea how we will be commuting in 50 years time, but the cost of light rail even for this period would need justifying. I am certain it will be ‘old’ technology by then.

Sure – I’m a fan of the Jetsons too – or maybe that Futurama tube thing 🙂

It isn’t a big infrastructure cost over a period of time given the benefits. All infrastructure is expensive, but you get on with it for a reason. I mean, how many people today think we shouldn’t have water running from dams to people’s homes?

cranky 11:46 am 21 Dec 08

Technology marches forward. I’m sure the construction of the railway line from Qbn to Bombala via Cooma was once seen as a facility which would last forever.

I have no idea how we will be commuting in 50 years time, but the cost of light rail even for this period would need justifying. I am certain it will be ‘old’ technology by then.

sepi 11:42 am 21 Dec 08

Well why does nay city have rail/trams etc then?

If you think about cities where public transport works well, they all seem to have trams and/or trains.

I just think pouring more money into the busses is never going to achieve an optimal result. Especially as Canberra grows bigger and bigger.

I do think they should put more money into the busses though – there are just not enough of them to meet demand at the mo, and overfull busses are really unplesant.

I’d totally support the free busses too – or cheaper. Over 6.00 for two trips is a bit steep.

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