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Light rail – Yes, go ahead. No, stop now.

aussie2 24 August 2015 228

light rail artist impression

I am the Chair of the Canberra Public Transport Alliance, and a past Chair of the Combined Community Councils Transport Working Group. I am  concerned with the way the ACT Government is handling the light rail issue.

I do not believe ACT voters have been given any opportunity to collectively vote on whether they want a light rail network or not.

Despite many attempts by the Liberal Party to have a referendum on the subject, the government has chosen to ignore voter sentiments. This is not democracy at work!

It is obvious the introduction of Light Rail is a massive political hot potato that won’t go away.

This is an invitation to you, your family and friends to a meeting next Thursday 27 August 2015.

I propose to run an online poll for the whole of Canberra. We will supplement this with advertising and at least one or two appearances in group centres. We will formalise an association, to reach out to Canberra voters, to facilitate measurable public expression on whether Capital Metro should proceed or not, sooner rather than later.

We need to act now! You should note that the government anticipates being in negotiations with the two tenders from October this year with a contract signature late this year or early next year, but well before the 2016 election.

I also apologise in advance – I wanted to get somewhere more central but that was not available to me next week. I have however been able to get the Calwell Club and I made a booking as follows:

Thurday 27 August 15
Calwell Club Auditorium, Were St.
7-9 pm.

I hope you are available. We will need many hands on deck to make this thing happen sooner rather than later. I hope you will be able to attend, and ask you to RSVP to dabblers2@hotmail.com.

Cheers,

Russ Morison
Chair
Canberra Public Transport Alliance
0262927567
0408947935


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Light rail – Yes, go ahead. No, stop now.
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Solidarity 1:50 pm 21 Sep 15

How many cycle highways would a billion dollars build?

Would be a better option than a stupid train on so many levels.

rubaiyat 9:38 am 21 Sep 15

Masquara said :

According to ABC News today, the ACT Government can’t afford to double up 1.7 km of the Cotter Road because of “funding difficulties” – yet they are committing us to the massive cost of light rail …

The previous paltry 800m double up cost a massive $11 million dollars, to just move the problem along to this next section, costing double the previous section.

The never ending outer suburbia that is destroying the Bush Capital, and gold plated roads are only dumping ever more cars into the existing inner roads and inner city car parking, which are already straining at their limits.

So it will be more badly spent money on cars and roads, that will require a bottomless pit to end up at the same predictable outcome that freeways always produce: ever more gridlock and pollution.

The massive amounts of money that all these roads cost is nothing compared to the over $11,000 a year it takes to keep the average driver sitting all alone fuming in their 2 tonne tank in traffic.

switch 9:02 am 21 Sep 15

rosscoact said :

500 signed the petition? Not exactly representative of the people. I reckon I could get 500 people to sign a petition banning Martians from landing in Canberra.

Where do I sign?

Masquara 8:21 am 21 Sep 15

According to ABC News today, the ACT Government can’t afford to double up 1.7 km of the Cotter Road because of “funding difficulties” – yet they are committing us to the massive cost of light rail …

wildturkeycanoe 6:54 am 21 Sep 15

I wonder how many refugees we could assist with the tram money? It isn’t a huge sacrifice to give up our time parked in grid-lock knowing that people in need have a roof over their heads and food on the table, is it? But of course the tram lovers wouldn’t put humanity before [chuckles] “progress”.

rosscoact 10:57 am 20 Sep 15

aussie2 said :

Some Canberrans have a gambling problem, and they don’t know it yet! They are prepared to gamble $24Billion on a “toy train” at the expense of many essential services, and to make matters worse, pay it off on the credit card forever (30 years).

Let me ask-what would you exchange in public funding and infrastructure to get this thing established? Police, Health, education, community, roads, Aged care, blue green algae, existing public transport, refugees and housing, homelessness-the list goes on.

OK, so you think the figure is fictitious? Expert analysis proves the figure is right-see canthetram.org for details. Everywhere I go, people tell me it is only about 12km of track. You also read about the Master Plan with 120km of track across Canberra, right! But for 12km of track, at a cost of $2Billion-the original figure they showed you did not include interest payments!.

We love our kids so much we are prepared to saddle them with the debt down the track This debt thing is Mr Corbells idea. What sort of people would do that? Not the intelligent residents of Canberra surely? There is no Mandate because we voted equally for 8 seats Liberal 8 seats Labor, and Labor said they would only spend $30m to set up the project office.

Everywhere I go, people tell me they hate the tram. You wouldn’t know it. There are two “anti tram” petitions on Change.org and collectively about 500 residents have voted. Are you a covert tram lover? What should be our public spending priorities now? No mandate, no tram!

Canberra Public Transport Alliance

500 signed the petition? Not exactly representative of the people. I reckon I could get 500 people to sign a petition banning Martians from landing in Canberra.

Come back when you have 15,000 signatures.

Masquara 10:51 am 20 Sep 15

aussie2 said :

No mandate, no tram!

Couldn’t agree more.

aussie2 8:22 am 20 Sep 15

Some Canberrans have a gambling problem, and they don’t know it yet! They are prepared to gamble $24Billion on a “toy train” at the expense of many essential services, and to make matters worse, pay it off on the credit card forever (30 years).

Let me ask-what would you exchange in public funding and infrastructure to get this thing established? Police, Health, education, community, roads, Aged care, blue green algae, existing public transport, refugees and housing, homelessness-the list goes on.

OK, so you think the figure is fictitious? Expert analysis proves the figure is right-see canthetram.org for details. Everywhere I go, people tell me it is only about 12km of track. You also read about the Master Plan with 120km of track across Canberra, right! But for 12km of track, at a cost of $2Billion-the original figure they showed you did not include interest payments!.

We love our kids so much we are prepared to saddle them with the debt down the track This debt thing is Mr Corbells idea. What sort of people would do that? Not the intelligent residents of Canberra surely? There is no Mandate because we voted equally for 8 seats Liberal 8 seats Labor, and Labor said they would only spend $30m to set up the project office.

Everywhere I go, people tell me they hate the tram. You wouldn’t know it. There are two “anti tram” petitions on Change.org and collectively about 500 residents have voted. Are you a covert tram lover? What should be our public spending priorities now? No mandate, no tram!

Canberra Public Transport Alliance

Mysteryman 7:31 am 17 Sep 15

watto23 said :

I’ll also point out that only the residents of Brindabella voted for Liberal ahead of Labor, so only voters in 5 of the 17 seats voted Liberal ahead of Labor. The liberals really only won that third seat in Brindabella because Zed moved there. promised a swimming pool, lost the election, spat the dummy and took another well respected liberal senators position, to look after himself only. Yet these same lemmings will probably vote the liberals again because they are not smart enough to look at policies and will fall for the three word slogans of Jeremy Hanson.

While you’re rewriting history, could you list me as one of the founders of Google? That’d be great.

dukethunder 8:13 pm 16 Sep 15

“That was mostly due to the residents in Brindbella because they aren’t getting light rail, but are too stupid to understand how light rail actually helps them also.”

Please enlighten us on how the “stupid” brindabella residents will benefit.

If successful light rail will draw more people from the south making it more of a dire sh#thole. If it struggles the ACT government will pull one of two tax levers it has to fund it, rates or parking/car taxes.

watto23 12:52 pm 16 Sep 15

aussie2 said :

Funny, but I don’t see anything about signing contracts pre 2016 Election, and I had thought 8 seats on both sides shows equally divided. We did not vote for Rattenbury, and he was the winner-his other compatriots all lost their seats. NO MANDATE! NO DEMOCRACY NOW!

Umm its 9-8 in favour of parties who support light rail. That is a majority and people did vote for the greens. In fact over 10% voted for the greens so they are probably the ones underrepresented in the government as 10% vote equals 1.7 members in the government. Meanwhile 41 more people (yes just 41 individuals) voted for Liberal ACT wide versus Labor ACT wide. That was mostly due to the residents in Brindbella because they aren’t getting light rail, but are too stupid to understand how light rail actually helps them also. However you look at it you have to respect the fact that 10% voted for the greens as well, so you get a Labor-Greens government. Looks like democracy worked and if anything failed the Greens.

I’ll also point out that only the residents of Brindabella voted for Liberal ahead of Labor, so only voters in 5 of the 17 seats voted Liberal ahead of Labor. The liberals really only won that third seat in Brindabella because Zed moved there. promised a swimming pool, lost the election, spat the dummy and took another well respected liberal senators position, to look after himself only. Yet these same lemmings will probably vote the liberals again because they are not smart enough to look at policies and will fall for the three word slogans of Jeremy Hanson.

rubaiyat 9:45 am 16 Sep 15

aussie2 said :

This is what you knew when you voted: “ACT ALP After eleven years and several failed pro-bus public transport policies, the ALP has accepted
that light rail with integrated bus services offers the best mass transit option for Canberra’s future. The ALP
now have a policy that proposes that if they are reelected this year:
? They will begin an examination of constructing a light rail line with public private partnership
options(
? If elected again in 2016, would actually begin construction of the Gungahlin to Civic light rail
link with an aim for completion by 2018.
? They will commit 30 million dollars over the next two years for further work on these proposals.
? The name of the proposed light rail is Capital Metro.
? Initial link will run from Gungahlin to Civic along Northbourne Avenue
Funny, but I don’t see anything about signing contracts pre 2016 Election, and I had thought 8 seats on both sides shows equally divided. We did not vote for Rattenbury, and he was the winner-his other compatriots all lost their seats. NO MANDATE! NO DEMOCRACY NOW!

If you are going to quote sources, can you do it clearly, accurately and provide links?

You may not have voted for the Greens but certainly a lot of people did. In fact far above Rattenbury’s quota. In all the other electorates they were just under their quota, but due to the uneven way the electorates were divided they didn’t make it.

Since the Greens and Labor vote, both of which are for the Light Rail, are a clear majority, and the Liberals were clearly the minority, that is the democratic choice.

Unlike the conservatives, the Greens and Labor do not believe in a God given right to rule, for which our democracy is an irritating hindrance.

The Liberals on their own in federal politics hardly ever make a majority without their National coalition.

Barnaby Joyce constantly attacks the Greens as an unrepresentative minority unfairly influencing government. Seems most Australians are too dense to notice the barefaced hypocrisy of it all. The Nationals can only dream of getting the votes the Greens get, mostly they get barely a quarter of the Greens. Not that the Liberals and Nationals are rusted on coalition partners, as was demonstrated previously in Queensland.

Of course extreme conservatives play the cynical political game of accusing the Greens of being some secret puppet masters behind the scenes controlling everything and being responsible for everything that their Labor senior partners do. The Greens can only dream of having that much real say in what goes on, mostly they are just intensely frustrated by the bizarre and self defeating policies of both Labor and Liberal Parties. The current redistribution to disenfranchise Green voters, being one glaring example.

aussie2 8:22 am 16 Sep 15

aussie2 said :

watto23 said :

Richard Fox said :

“I do not believe ACT voters have been given any opportunity to collectively vote on whether they want a light rail network or not.”

I do believe it was a major policy of the ACT Labor Party in 2012 and, as such, ACT voters have already voted on it. Here’s then Chief Minister Katy Gallagher’s media release on it http://web.archive.org/web/20141101011336/http://www.katygallagher.net/?p=2285

+1 it was announced well and truly before the previous election. So while the public were effectively divided 8-8-1 (Lab-Lib-Grn), Labor were federally on the nose as well, there was the triple your rates slogan (While Joe Hockey has commended the ACT government on the tax reform, this will be interesting to see how Jeremy Hanson plays it) and the libs still didn’t get enough to form government. If they put up some visions, plans etc, then we could assess what they want to do.

A solution is needed to transport. I fear the libs solution is to just let things stay as they are, or increase parking costs to encourage bus use. Parking is getting scarce in the city, its not going to improve in either costs or number of car parks. For all the Tuggeranongites out there (myself included), the benefit we get from light rail is parking will be cheaper and more available. Without it parking will get scarcer and more expensive.

I’ve said in many posts I’m more in favor of an intercity rapid transport network, whether that be dedicated bus roads or rail of some kind. That may in fact be the solution for Tuggeranong as light rail from Tuggeranong to the city would not be viable (if it takes longer than 30-40 minutes I can’t see it being used, unless forced to by parking costs).

I completely understand why there are concerns with the light rail. What I have a real trouble with in this country is right now the Liberals at local and federal level have absolutely no vision or plans for the country, other than relying on what has worked in the past. Hopefully it will change next year when we are likely to have both elections, we’ll see though.

aussie2 7:04 am 16 Sep 15

watto23 said :

Richard Fox said :

“I do not believe ACT voters have been given any opportunity to collectively vote on whether they want a light rail network or not.”

I do believe it was a major policy of the ACT Labor Party in 2012 and, as such, ACT voters have already voted on it. Here’s then Chief Minister Katy Gallagher’s media release on it http://web.archive.org/web/20141101011336/http://www.katygallagher.net/?p=2285

+1 it was announced well and truly before the previous election. So while the public were effectively divided 8-8-1 (Lab-Lib-Grn), Labor were federally on the nose as well, there was the triple your rates slogan (While Joe Hockey has commended the ACT government on the tax reform, this will be interesting to see how Jeremy Hanson plays it) and the libs still didn’t get enough to form government. If they put up some visions, plans etc, then we could assess what they want to do.

A solution is needed to transport. I fear the libs solution is to just let things stay as they are, or increase parking costs to encourage bus use. Parking is getting scarce in the city, its not going to improve in either costs or number of car parks. For all the Tuggeranongites out there (myself included), the benefit we get from light rail is parking will be cheaper and more available. Without it parking will get scarcer and more expensive.

I’ve said in many posts I’m more in favor of an intercity rapid transport network, whether that be dedicated bus roads or rail of some kind. That may in fact be the solution for Tuggeranong as light rail from Tuggeranong to the city would not be viable (if it takes longer than 30-40 minutes I can’t see it being used, unless forced to by parking costs).

I completely understand why there are concerns with the light rail. What I have a real trouble with in this country is right now the Liberals at local and federal level have absolutely no vision or plans for the country, other than relying on what has worked in the past. Hopefully it will change next year when we are likely to have both elections, we’ll see though.

aussie2 6:58 am 16 Sep 15

TrevaQ said :

I don’t know if you would call it a “network” but… whatever.

If you read Mick Gentleman’s Master Plan document you will see there is 120km of track laid out across the Territory-by the way, using the same old bus routes at a cheap as chips price of $20Billion-that’s an awful lot of swimming pools, schools,k policemen, community facilities etc. Chair Canberra Public Transport Alliance

aussie2 6:53 am 16 Sep 15

This is what you knew when you voted: “ACT ALP After eleven years and several failed pro-bus public transport policies, the ALP has accepted
that light rail with integrated bus services offers the best mass transit option for Canberra’s future. The ALP
now have a policy that proposes that if they are reelected this year:
? They will begin an examination of constructing a light rail line with public private partnership
options(
? If elected again in 2016, would actually begin construction of the Gungahlin to Civic light rail
link with an aim for completion by 2018.
? They will commit 30 million dollars over the next two years for further work on these proposals.
? The name of the proposed light rail is Capital Metro.
? Initial link will run from Gungahlin to Civic along Northbourne Avenue
Funny, but I don’t see anything about signing contracts pre 2016 Election, and I had thought 8 seats on both sides shows equally divided. We did not vote for Rattenbury, and he was the winner-his other compatriots all lost their seats. NO MANDATE! NO DEMOCRACY NOW!

rubaiyat 3:35 am 11 Sep 15

The double standards of the Abbott Government are demonstrated in their denial of funding for the Gold Coast Light Rail Extension in time for the next Commonwealth Games to be held there.

Tony Abbott has refused funds for the Light Rail unless the Queensland Government sells off assets.

At the same time he is funding Adani’s railway to cart coal to the ports on the Great Barrier Reef. No asset sales necessary!

The Gold Coast council needs to resubmit their proposal to include the apparent requisite trip to the pawnbroker, using the maximum amount of pollution and destruction of World Heritage Listed national treasures that P.M. Abbott and the Coal-ition loves so much.

“Coal… my preeecious!”

rubaiyat 2:35 am 11 Sep 15

MarkE said :

According to the Canberra Times Phase 1 will cost $870M and there are 151,000 households in the ACT so the cost per household will be $5,166 plus interest plus the ongoing operating losses.

Why do the anti Light Rail opponents feel the need to constantly make things up?

Where is your reference, and what is the evidence?

When the Canberra Times does its own research, can write to the point of getting basic facts, grammar and spelling right, I’ll pay them a little more attention.

Here are researched facts:

On your figures the Majura Parkway ($288m) is costing each ACT household $1907 plus interest plus the ongoing operating losses. There is already a road there, so this is just gold plating, and will 100% lose money because it has no income. Unlike Light Rail which charges users.

The Gungahlin Drive extension ($200+m) cost each ACT household $1325 plus interest plus the ongoing operating losses. It was a mere 8.3km and will 100% lose money.

The Cotter Road Duplication Stage 1, a tiny 800m, ($11m) cost each ACT household $73 plus interest plus the ongoing operating losses. It will 100% lose money. There is more to come with Stage 2 duplication in planning.

The Constitution Ave road upgrades ($40m) will cost each ACT household $285 plus interest plus the ongoing operating losses. It is only a few kilometres of existing road and will 100% lose money.

The Kings Avenue overpass ($30m), cost each ACT household $199 plus interest plus the ongoing operating losses. It was just an intersection replacing an existing roundabout and will 100% lose money.

The Fairbairn Avenue on and off ramps ($14m) at the Airport cost each ACT household $93 plus interest plus the ongoing operating losses. It is also just an intersection replacing an existing roundabout and will 100% lose money.

All the above are only the roads, they do not include the vehicles, fuel, policing, ambulance services and other real operating costs to make them operate.

The RACQ has published the following study of the costs of driving:

http://www.racq.com.au/cars-and-driving/cars/owning-and-maintaining-a-car/car-running-costs

The Average weekly running cost of a medium size passenger vehicle is $225.08/wk or $11,736/yr.

The ACT has 283,572 registered vehicles costing approx. $4 billion/yr to run (not all are mere passenger cars).

Or to put it as you have, costs each ACT household $26,490 per year just for the vehicles.

Add to that the deaths, the 20% of hospital beds taken up by the seriously injured road victims who will continue to add to all the other costs associated with roads for the rest of their lives.

MarkE said :

Does your family really want to pay $5,166 for a rail line you may never use? You will pay, look at rising rates and parking charges. The money will be extracted from you. Even renters will pay as landlords pass on rates rises in rent rises.

Any part of any transport system will not be used by the entire community. You will never use most of the road network which takes up 54% Canberra by area.

This is an oft repeated logical fallacy. “I’m not going to use it, therefore those who will, should not have it”.

So you should in turn not have your infrastructure, because someone else will not use it.

MarkE said :

Even in the government’s own calculations the return on investment is only half as effective as widening roads for new bus lanes.

The Belconnen busway was only 7.5km long and was costed at $120 million in 2006, so you can more than double that. That was only for partially separated roadway and did not include the buses, fuel and ongoing costs to operate it. It relied on fossil fuel burning vehicles, the existing poor bus transport that ACT commuters are not using. Only 6.8% currently take public transport (ie buses in the ACT), far short of every other major city in Australia. So as a solution it is “more of the same” ie Something that isn’t working.

MarkE said :

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL DIE EACH YEAR ON ALL THE LEVEL CROSSINGS?
Light rail will be more dangerous than issuing guns to school kids! (They actually did that in the 1960’s. Each school cadet was given a real .303 rifle that he took home with him on the bus.)

Good question, even if it is in SHOUTY TYPE.

Melbourne Trams, most of which are in road and not grade separated as the ACT’s will be, only one person is killed in most years in the ENTIRE 250km NETWORK.

Just in the last few weeks how many people have been killed by automobiles in the A.C.T.?

There is a lot of hysteria and wild exageration as well as plain “making it up” in the anti-Light Rail camp. You all need to take a deep breath and actually look at what a real sustainable transport network can do to transform the, up to now, haphazard planning in the ACT. It will be part of the consolidation of housing closer in to the City and has been proven to work thoughout the world.

The current Liberal National Party Mayor of the Gold Coast was against their Light Rail and is now 100% behind it and pushing for Stage 2 now that the “Reality Study” is well and truly over and he has declared extending the system “a No-Brainer”.

Typically conservatives, usually older men wedded to their cars, oppose just about every “waste of money” other than their own. We can’t ever expect them to ever actually seriously study or research anything, nor look beyond the ends of their own noses or wallets, we just have to let the results sweep them into irrelevance.

After it is in place it will be just like the Gold Coast Light Rail. You will all wonder what all the fuss was about and be clamouring for more. You just can’t see that far ahead.

JC 8:03 pm 10 Sep 15

MarkE said :

According to the Canberra Times Phase 1 will cost $870M and there are 151,000 households in the ACT so the cost per household will be $5,166 plus interest plus the ongoing operating losses.

Does your family really want to pay $5,166 for a rail line you may never use? You will pay, look at rising rates and parking charges. The money will be extracted from you. Even renters will pay as landlords pass on rates rises in rent rises.

Think you will find the cost is total cost including interest etc based on 10 years. So in essence the $5,166 is $516 per annum per house hold. Oh you also need to take off the money from the Feds through the asset recycling program.

Dreadnaught1905 5:38 pm 10 Sep 15

MarkE said :

According to the Canberra Times Phase 1 will cost $870M and there are 151,000 households in the ACT so the cost per household will be $5,166 plus interest plus the ongoing operating losses.

Does your family really want to pay $5,166 for a rail line you may never use? You will pay, look at rising rates and parking charges. The money will be extracted from you. Even renters will pay as landlords pass on rates rises in rent rises.

Even in the government’s own calculations the return on investment is only half as effective as widening roads for new bus lanes.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL DIE EACH YEAR ON ALL THE LEVEL CROSSINGS?
Light rail will be more dangerous than issuing guns to school kids! (They actually did that in the 1960’s. Each school cadet was given a real .303 rifle that he took home with him on the bus.)

I think that even if the Light Rail proposal were cancelled tomorrow, then far, far from all of that $870M would be removed from the budget. No doubt there is an amount of that $870M which is a) already spent or already committed to (in a legal sense). And surely the government would simply find something else to spend three quarters of a billion dollars on, anyway…

When people talk about households, the implication is “rates”. That’s a bit of a one dimensional look at the Territory’s revenue.
A glance at the published ACT Financials (Consolidated annual financial statements FY14-15) shows that only approximately 8% of ACT revenue is from rates.

Also, I can only assume that your comment re: level crossings killing people was intended to be ironic? I’m no fan of the Tram, as the proposal currently stands, but seriously, the idea that light rail level crossings in the ACT might cause an increase in transit related fatal injuries is quite ludicrous.

I missed the 60’s by a few years, but I had always thought that the rifle of choice for issue to Cadets was the .310 Martini (I make no claim toward accuracy on this, mind you!)

12

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