Skip to content Skip to main navigation

News

Excellence in Public Sector consulting

Why is the light rail going to cost so much?

By johnboy 23 May 2012 52

The Greens are asking just why the ACT Government thinks it’s going to cost the best part of a billion dollars to join Gungahlin and Civic with 13 odd kilometres of light rail.

ACT Greens Transport spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA, has questioned the Government’s commitment to light rail, and called on the Government to release the costing details for the Civic to Gungahlin light rail project.

The call has been echoed by others, including Bryan Nye, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association, who criticised the proposed $700m-$890m price tag as ‘exorbitant’ and said it ‘does not seem sensible’.

“The ACT Greens believe light rail would be a transformational project for Canberra, helping to solve our transport problems, attracting business and tourism, and building us into a successful and sustainable 21st century capital,” Ms Bresnan said.

“We want to see light rail given genuine consideration. We’ve heard the Government talk about light rail so many times before – especially at election time – only to then find excuses for it to fall off the agenda.

“The Greens support the call for the Government to release the full data it used to come up with these high light rail costs.

“I also challenge Simon Corbell’s claims that questioning these costs is somehow a ‘conspiracy theory’. The proposed costs have grown by approximately 400% since the 2008 costs done by Treasury and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. They are also double or triple the costs for other light rail systems being built around the world.

Let us consider for a moment the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway built in 2000 consisting of:

    –1420 km
    — 6 major bridges crossing the Katherine, Elizabeth, Adelaide, Cullen, Fergusson and Edith rivers[8]
    — 87 minor bridges
    — 1,500 culverts[9]
    — 145,000 tonnes of rail[9]
    — 2.8 million tonnes of ballast
    — 2 million sleepers
    — 8 million sleeper fastenings

Cost? according to the ABS $1.2 billion.


UPDATE 24/05/12 09:36: Simon Corbell has hit back:

Responding to claims that the initial cost estimate of $700 – $860 million for the project, were overinflated, Mr Corbell said the assessment was based on detailed comparisons with similar projects nationally and internationally.

“The initial project cost estimate has been developed by URS Australia, a respected international engineering consultancy, experienced in large-scale infrastructure projects,” Mr Corbell said.

“Costs were benchmarked by URS against the Constitution Avenue Upgrade Project (ACT), Gold Coast Light Rail Project, and the Melbourne Hoddle Street Planning Study. Further reference and benchmarking was undertaken using data from Rawlinson’s Australian Construction Handbook 2010,” Mr Corbell said.

“The estimates were also developed using information obtained from the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional, Development and Local Government – Best Practice Cost Estimation for Publicly Funded Road and Rail Construction, 2008.

“Those who criticise the initial costs estimate should remember that the Government has been very clear that these are early cost estimates subject to further assessment and detailed analysis.

What’s Your opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
52 Responses to
Why is the light rail going to cost so much?
Filter
Showing only Website comments
Order
Newest to Oldest
Oldest to Newst
bitzermaloney 2:44 pm 31 May 12

NSW extending their light rail 5.5km, including 9 stations for $176M.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-31/contract-awarded-for-sydney-light-rail-extension/4044644 or
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/light-rail-expansion-approved-20120531-1zk8e.html

…. works out at approx $32M per kilometre with roughly 2 stations in that km

Those figures applied to the Gunners – Civic link equal $416M and 18 stations!

One can only imagine:
– The pain of stopping every 700m for another station (in addition to the traffic lights on Northbourne);
– The cost of land (i.e. Northbourne median strip) is somewhat over-inflated; and
– How much 5.5kms of land (say 50-100m wide) in the inner suburbs of Sydney would actually cost if you were to build a structure.

watto23 10:54 am 25 May 12

There seems to be two trains of thought regarding how public transport could be improved.

1. Make it free even if it is inefficient and slow.
2. Make it efficient and fast to entice people to use it

Personally I don’t use it because of the time and I suspect for many canberrans its time and convenience thats the issue. Sure cost plays a part but I doubt free buses would entice too many, especially when plenty are happy to pay $10+ a day for parking with the convenience of driving a car.

Buses through the suburbs are the slow bit, but I’d walk/cycle to the interchange if the intercity buses were actually faster than a car. but they are not, so while the intercity is well patronised, its still nopt efficient. Of course its the intercity routes that prop up the suburban routes.

Yet I go overseas to many places and travel on efficient fast public transport. However Canberra is probably twice the size of the average city with a population in the 300+k mark.

I understand its not an easy issue to fix, intercity bus transitways IMO would be a good start. eg say its ~20kms from tuggeranong to civic. A non stop bus service on a transitway should take 15 minutes. Say the suburban service takes 20-30 minutes. so looking at 45 minutes. Thats actually getting close to a usable service. more so if people can get to the towncentres more quickly via say car pool, bike/walk etc.

dungfungus 10:11 am 25 May 12

If a conventional tram line with overhead electricfaction is rolled out down the centre of Northbourne Avenue, all the tress adjacent will have to be removed because the constantly falling limbs will damage the wires and supports.
A cheaper “wireless” battery powered tram would allow the trees to be preserved adding to the aesthetics of the cityscape.

Innovation 7:24 am 25 May 12

dvaey said :

Innovation said :

dvaey said :

One interesting figure to throw out there, is that ACTION currently has a budget of about 100mil (75mil from govt, 25mil from ticket sales). So it would only cost 8 years of ACTION budget to be able to wipe it out.

I haven’t looked at the numbers but this seems to suggest that it costs ACTION $10 for every $2.50 paid (or $16 for every $4.00 cash fare). I know that many can’t afford taxis but it’s ridiculous if taxi fares to many destinations are cheaper than the cost of bus trips.

The figures are available at http://www.treasury.act.gov.au/budget/budget_2009/files/paper4/06action.rtf

Check for the ‘Operating Statement’ table, showing for 09-10 $73.971m came from ACT govt, while $23.332m came from users, for a total of 97.303m. There are estimates in the same ballpark for upto 2013 in that table.

My point is that if it is costing ACTION as much as $10 to $16 per passenger then there must be a better solution. For example, subsidising an on call taxi shuttle service in and out of the suburbs to and from bus stops on the nearest main road would allow ACTION to focus on direct bus routes and might cost the same or even less than what is being spent now. I’m pretty sure that ACTION makes a profit and runs at or close to capacity on their direct (eg intertown) routes and commuters might stand a better chance of getting a taxi (may be even to and from their door) than having to wait for an irregular suburban bus service.

yellowsnow 11:59 pm 24 May 12

DrKoresh said :

You know, I must admit that I think having lightrail in Canberra would be pretty freaking awesome but for 800 odd million why not just kick some more money ACTION’s way to gain and maintain a decent bus service for auxiliary suburbs? It would immensely cheaper, one would assume, and the main problem that I can see with public transport in the ‘Berra is how crappy the services are to outer suburbs, especially on weekends. Maybe we can have services that DON’T terminate at 7pm on Sundays (which is a joke, a sick joke) with an expenditure of just 100 million or so?

+1

Light rail would just displace frequent bus services like the 300s and 200s … which, Northbourne traffic lights aside, are pretty decent services and not the source of under-patronage.

The problem with Canberra public transport is the lack of direct routes and/or meaningful frequency beyond the rapid routes, i.e. in the suburbs, where most people live. Light rail wouldn’t solve that, you’d still need feeder routes, which would no doubt continue to be poorly serviced. In fact light rail could potentially take funding away from other parts of the transport system, thereby possibly leading to reduced services for the bulk of the population while benefiting only those living along the light rail corridor.

Unless light rail is rolled out evenly throughout canberra, buses will always be inherently more flexible, equitable and a better return on taxpayer investment in cities of canberra’s size.

dvaey 10:00 pm 24 May 12

Innovation said :

dvaey said :

One interesting figure to throw out there, is that ACTION currently has a budget of about 100mil (75mil from govt, 25mil from ticket sales). So it would only cost 8 years of ACTION budget to be able to wipe it out.

I haven’t looked at the numbers but this seems to suggest that it costs ACTION $10 for every $2.50 paid (or $16 for every $4.00 cash fare). I know that many can’t afford taxis but it’s ridiculous if taxi fares to many destinations are cheaper than the cost of bus trips.

The figures are available at http://www.treasury.act.gov.au/budget/budget_2009/files/paper4/06action.rtf

Check for the ‘Operating Statement’ table, showing for 09-10 $73.971m came from ACT govt, while $23.332m came from users, for a total of 97.303m. There are estimates in the same ballpark for upto 2013 in that table.

gooterz 9:08 pm 24 May 12

dvaey said :

DrKoresh said :

You know, I must admit that I think having lightrail in Canberra would be pretty freaking awesome but for 800 odd million why not just kick some more money ACTION’s way to gain and maintain a decent bus service for auxiliary suburbs? It would immensely cheaper, one would assume, and the main problem that I can see with public transport in the ‘Berra is how crappy the services are to outer suburbs, especially on weekends. Maybe we can have services that DON’T terminate at 7pm on Sundays (which is a joke, a sick joke) with an expenditure of just 100 million or so?

One interesting figure to throw out there, is that ACTION currently has a budget of about 100mil (75mil from govt, 25mil from ticket sales). So it would only cost 8 years of ACTION budget to be able to wipe it out.

$62 per person in ticket sales? That doesnt seem right thats 31 x $2 trips.. so about two weeks worth for everyone? Thats a hella lot of overhead by the retailers!!!!!! What a waste!

If action were free, have a public transport tax about $100 (to about $40Million). I’m sure everyone could make use of 30 trips on an action bus in a year and get their monies worth.

A big amount of ticketing is kickbacks to the retailers the tickets themselves.

If buses were free i’m sure you’d get heaps more people using the damn things

Innovation 7:59 pm 24 May 12

dvaey said :

DrKoresh said :

You know, I must admit that I think having lightrail in Canberra would be pretty freaking awesome but for 800 odd million why not just kick some more money ACTION’s way to gain and maintain a decent bus service for auxiliary suburbs? It would immensely cheaper, one would assume, and the main problem that I can see with public transport in the ‘Berra is how crappy the services are to outer suburbs, especially on weekends. Maybe we can have services that DON’T terminate at 7pm on Sundays (which is a joke, a sick joke) with an expenditure of just 100 million or so?

One interesting figure to throw out there, is that ACTION currently has a budget of about 100mil (75mil from govt, 25mil from ticket sales). So it would only cost 8 years of ACTION budget to be able to wipe it out.

I haven’t looked at the numbers but this seems to suggest that it costs ACTION $10 for every $2.50 paid (or $16 for every $4.00 cash fare). I know that many can’t afford taxis but it’s ridiculous if taxi fares to many destinations are cheaper than the cost of bus trips.

dvaey 4:16 pm 24 May 12

DrKoresh said :

You know, I must admit that I think having lightrail in Canberra would be pretty freaking awesome but for 800 odd million why not just kick some more money ACTION’s way to gain and maintain a decent bus service for auxiliary suburbs? It would immensely cheaper, one would assume, and the main problem that I can see with public transport in the ‘Berra is how crappy the services are to outer suburbs, especially on weekends. Maybe we can have services that DON’T terminate at 7pm on Sundays (which is a joke, a sick joke) with an expenditure of just 100 million or so?

One interesting figure to throw out there, is that ACTION currently has a budget of about 100mil (75mil from govt, 25mil from ticket sales). So it would only cost 8 years of ACTION budget to be able to wipe it out.

DrKoresh 2:59 pm 24 May 12

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

Perhaps just make busses free.

If nothing else, it should reduce instances of “maaaate, can you spare 2 dollars for the bus, cos I haven’t got any money and I have to go see my kids ‘n’ s***’.

I like to respond with “sorry brah, but I needs it to buy me drugs””

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 2:53 pm 24 May 12

DrKoresh said :

You know, I must admit that I think having lightrail in Canberra would be pretty freaking awesome but for 800 odd million why not just kick some more money ACTION’s way to gain and maintain a decent bus service for auxiliary suburbs? It would immensely cheaper, one would assume, and the main problem that I can see with public transport in the ‘Berra is how crappy the services are to outer suburbs, especially on weekends. Maybe we can have services that DON’T terminate at 7pm on Sundays (which is a joke, a sick joke) with an expenditure of just 100 million or so?

Perhaps just make busses free.

If nothing else, it should reduce instances of “maaaate, can you spare 2 dollars for the bus, cos I haven’t got any money and I have to go see my kids ‘n’ s***’.

DrKoresh 2:44 pm 24 May 12

You know, I must admit that I think having lightrail in Canberra would be pretty freaking awesome but for 800 odd million why not just kick some more money ACTION’s way to gain and maintain a decent bus service for auxiliary suburbs? It would immensely cheaper, one would assume, and the main problem that I can see with public transport in the ‘Berra is how crappy the services are to outer suburbs, especially on weekends. Maybe we can have services that DON’T terminate at 7pm on Sundays (which is a joke, a sick joke) with an expenditure of just 100 million or so?

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2018 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
the-riotact.com | aboutregional.com.au | b2bmagazine.com.au | thisiscanberra.com

Search across the site