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Author Topic: Rail projects key to fixing congestion – Opinion – The Age/SMH Digital  (Read 2101 times)

Offline ozbob

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http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/rail-projects-key-to-fixing-congestion-opinion-the-agesmh-digital

Apr 8, 2013

Rail projects key to fixing congestion – Opinion – The Age/SMH Digital

There are moments in public life when you can’t quite believe what you’ve heard. I had one of those recently when I heard the Leader of the Opposition say “…it’s important we stick to our knitting and the Commonwealth’s knitting is roads”. I checked my calendar and confirmed that it was indeed 2013. Yes, we were well into the 21st century. A day later, in case we hadn’t heard it the first time he said it again: “That’s what I said yesterday and that’s what I say today.”

The shudder from his State Coalition colleagues and the weary commuters of Australia could be felt around the country. Because they live each and every day with the effects of one of the greatest blights in modern life, urban congestion. Anyone living in a major Australian city knows that idling behind the wheel of a car is one of the most frustrating time-wasters of modern life.  All those hours could be better spent at the work-place or at home helping the kids with homework or coaching their local soccer team. Congestion steals time. It steals time from our families and from the productive capacity of Australia. That is why the old notion confirmed once again by Tony Abbott, that public transport should be left to the States, is dangerously wrong. Urban congestion is not a local problem. It is a national one which, if not tackled, will cost us $20 billion in lost productivity by 2020.

One commuter train line has the carrying capacity of a ten lane highway. This Federal Government not only recognises this reality, it has responded with the biggest funding commitment to urban rail in the country’s history. We have committed more to urban public transport than all other Federal Governments combined since Federation. We have projects under construction or committed to in every mainland State. At the same time we have doubled the roads budget.

In Queensland there’s the Moreton Bay Rail Link, a great idea that had been talked about by politicians since 1895. The Moreton Bay region is growing faster than just about anywhere else in the country. The current population of 375,000 people will reach half a million by 2031. More than half the region’s population leaves the area each day for work and 83 per cent use a private car to do so. While rail might be a great investment for the future, it is not cheap to build. So the Federal Government stepped in to help the Queensland Government with $742 million. Work is now well underway on the 12.6 kilometre link. Each full train on the new line will remove 600 cars from the road.

There’s also the Gold Coast Rapid Transit, a 13 kilometre light rail network connecting Griffith University at Southport to Broadbeach which will be completed next year. Federal Labor is investing $365 million in this project because we recognise it as the best solution to the population growth in this rapidly expanding and economically productive corner of Queensland.

The next urban rail collaboration under consideration between the Federal and Queensland Governments is the much-needed Cross River Rail. This project will transform the transport landscape of inner Brisbane. Federal Labor has already contributed $20 million to scope the project which will provide 9.8 kilometres of underground track and vastly expand services to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and outer suburbs of Brisbane.

In Victoria, there’s the 47.5 kilometres Regional Rail Link, the biggest public transport project now under construction in Australia. Not only will it provide a frequent reliable service for thousands of commuters in metropolitan Melbourne and the growth areas in the city’s west, it will also offer for the first time a dedicated track for commuters from Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat. Federal Labor has invested over $3 billion in this project.

Preliminary scoping is also underway on the Melbourne Metro for which Federal Labor has already contributed $40 million. The project involves a nine kilometre track and five new underground stations which will untangle the inner core of Melbourne’s metropolitan rail network. This will allow more services on existing lines with capacity for an additional 20,000 commuters each hour.

It’s clear that existing urban rail projects would be under threat if the Coalition was elected and it would abandon any prospect of further examining the Brisbane Cross River Rail and Melbourne Metro. Of particular concern is Tony Abbott’s preparedness to dismiss all urban rail projects regardless of their capacity to raise productivity. This is a rejection of the objective process established under Infrastructure Australia of funding projects based on merit.

Forty years ago, Prime Gough Whitlam stepped in to help the States get rid of those cockroach and mosquito breeding pits, the septic tank. He knew that without Federal help this national health issue would take forever to fix. It was a task simply too big for the financial capacity of the States and Territories. So he handed his Urban Affairs colleague Tom Uren the unusual task of cleaning up the backyards of Australia. We now enjoy a modern sewerage system as a result.

Similarly, fixing the congestion afflicting our cities is simply too big a task to simply say ‘it’s the State’s job’. There are many answers to making our urban centres more productive, sustainable and liveable and better roads is one of them. But Tony Abbott’s view that the Federal Government should fund nothing other than roads reveals a mindset fixed in another age. It is old thinking that has been rejected across the advanced world. Mr Abbott should return to his knitting and think again.

Ends…
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Offline ozbob

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RubyRainbow RubyRainbow ‏@ColouredView 48m

Infrastructure investment in Australia's urban & freight rail networks by @AlboMP & govt. #mtp10 http://t.co/LKv5dyWNyU

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somebody

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RubyRainbow RubyRainbow ‏@ColouredView 48m

Infrastructure investment in Australia's urban & freight rail networks by @AlboMP & govt. #mtp10 http://t.co/LKv5dyWNyU


Hard to take that graphic seriously when it doesn't show only the federal contribution to those projects.

Offline ozbob

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It does .. for example the $1.147 billion required for the Moreton Bay Rail Link is being provided jointly by the Australian Government ($742 million), Queensland Government ($300 million plus land) and Moreton Bay Regional Council ($105 million) [ http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/moretonbayrail ]

http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/tony-abbott-says-no-to-federal-funding-for-urban-rail

NATION BUILDING PROGRAM: PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Federal Labor has already committed more to public transport infrastructure than all our predecessors since Federation combined:

    MELBOURNE: Regional Rail Link ($3.225 billion; underway) – a new 47.5 kilometre line running from Southern Cross Station through the western suburbs of Melbourne and meeting the Geelong Line at West Werribee.
    MELBOURNE: Melbourne Metro – $40 million towards planning, design and engineering works for a new eight kilometre, two track rail tunnel under Melbourne’s CBD to relieve congested rail lines and improve travel times.
    ADELAIDE: Gawler Rail Line Modernisation ($293 million; partially completed) – the upgrade and electrification of some 43 kilometres of existing track, and construction of 2 new stations at Munno Para and Elizabeth.
    ADELAIDE: Noarlunga to Seaford Rail Extension ($291 million; completed) – a 5.7 kilometre extension from Noarlunga Centre Railway Station to the Seaford District Centre, including new stations at Seaford Meadows and the Seaford District Centre.
    ADELAIDE: Goodwood and Torrens Junctions grade separation ($232.1 million; underway) – untangling the passenger and interstate freight lines at Goodwood and Torrens.
    GOLD COAST: Rapid Transit ($365 million; underway) – a 13 kilometre light rail network connecting Griffith University at Southport to Broadbeach which is scheduled to be built by 2014.  The first ever Federal investment in light rail.
    PERTH: City Link ($236 million; underway) – sinking of the existing rail line through the CBD, reuniting the retail district with the Northbridge entertainment precinct and paving the way for up to $3 billion worth of private investment in new residential and commercial developments.
    BRISBANE: Moreton Bay Rail Link ($742 million; underway) – a new 12.6 kilometre line connecting the Redcliffe Peninsula to the existing network at Petrie Station, a project proposed more than a century ago in 1895.
    BRISBANE: CrossRiver Rail – $20 million towards a detailed feasibility and planning study to help determine the optimal route and develop a business case for a new rail tunnel through inner city Brisbane.
    SYDNEY: Parramatta to Epping Rail Link ($2.1 billion) – a new 14 kilometres line connecting Parramatta with jobs in Macquarie Park, North Ryde, and Chatswood.
    SYDNEY: Northern Sydney Freight Line ($840 million; underway) – untangling the passenger and freight lines by building a rail underpass at North Strathfield, laying a third track between Epping and Thornleigh, installing new passing loops near Gosford and a holding track at Hexham.
    SYDNEY: South Sydney Freight Line ($1 billion; completed) – a new 36 kilometre dedicated Southern Sydney Freight Line, separating passenger and freight lines through Sydney’s southern suburbs.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 01:58:03 PM by ozbob »
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Offline Gazza

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Quote
Hard to take that graphic seriously when it doesn't show only the federal contribution to those projects.
:clp: :clp: :clp:

Gold Coast Light Rail: $365 Million.

That's the federal contribution yeah? It's not like the whole project is only $365 Million.

Offline ozbob

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Yes.   Feds are chipping in $365 million, other funding components are by the Queensland Government, is contributing $464 million, and the Gold Coast City Council is contributing $120 million.

http://www.nationbuildingprogram.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=035873-09QLD-MIP
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It does ..
Ah Ok.  What about the Gawler line money?

I thought $3.2bn was the entire RRL.  The state contributed something too didn't they?

Perth city link has no benefits for rail users, I'm told.  It's an urban renewal project.

Offline ozbob

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RRL total cost is around $4.3 billion from memory ..

http://www.nationbuildingprogram.gov.au/projects/ProjectDetails.aspx?Project_id=035890-09VIC-MIP

Perth City Link --> http://www.perthcitylink.wa.gov.au/

Gawler line - they  put in $294 million, state deferred ...

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-13/senator-says-sa-repaying-rail-funds/4515798

Quote
Senator says SA repaying rail funds

Updated Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:44am AEDT
Map: SA

The Federal Opposition says the South Australian Government has failed to make good use of federal money allocated for electrification of the Gawler rail line.

The project received $294 million of federal funding, but was abandoned as part of last year's state budget, despite some preliminary work having been done.

It had been unclear until now whether the SA Government would return an unspent $41 million.

Liberal Senator Sean Edwards said the Federal Transport Department had asked the excess funds be returned.

"[Premier] Jay Weatherill has had to write out a cheque for $10 million to give it back because he couldn't raise the corresponding amounts of state funding to meet this project," he said.

"He's about to try and find another $31 million which they fully expect to get repaid over the next several weeks."

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Offline SurfRail

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Perth city link has no benefits for rail users, I'm told.  It's an urban renewal project.

It involves some pretty heavy duty access upgrades especially between the surface and underground bits of Perth Station.  The biggest benefit would probably be for people using the bus station.
Ride the G:

Offline ozbob

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To address Simon's query there are rail benefits, apart from the bus station
--> http://www.pta.wa.gov.au/perthcitylink/RailProject/tabid/324/language/en-AU/Default.aspx
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Offline ozbob

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Obviously, the concerning thing is under an Abbott lead Government, apart from Moreton Bay Rail Link which they agreed should be part funded federally last election ( inconsistent to say the least .. ), in principle none of the other stuff would have been federally part funded.
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“You can't understand a city without using its public transportation system.” -- Erol Ozan