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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
Any Very Fast Train (VFT) proposal should go straight to Infrastructure Australia for a thorough cost-benefit analysis, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) urges.
Its input comes after local consortium Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) went public with its plan for a privately funded high-speed link between Sydney and Melbourne via Canberra, to be supported by ‘value capture’.
This would happen through the connection of eight inland cities and land on the proposed route is said to have been purchased and a proposal to be presented to prime minister Malcolm Turnbull within six months.
"We have developed a plan that will allow for a quantum leap forward in the development of our nation to take place as a market-led, commercially viable project," CLARA says.
ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says such ideas need searching scrutiny.
"ALC firmly believes that major projects need to have an independent detailed cost-benefit analysis," he says.
"To date all VFT proposals have failed any rigorous cost-benefit analysis.
"If anything the VFT case will become weaker in the light of the approval of Sydney’s second airport."
"Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List has identified Inland Rail as a Priority Project, noting the long-term benefits to potential users of the project, users of alternative infrastructure, and the broader economy.
"The trouble with committing to a VFT is that it would divert funds from more worthwhile projects, such as Inland Rail, at a time when the Sydney-Canberra-Melbourne passenger corridor is reasonably well-served."
He adds that there were also "grounds for caution and scepticism" about plans to ‘value capture’ increases in land prices to fund infrastructure – as shown in the ALC Submission to last year’s Federal Government Discussion Paper Using Value Capture to Help Deliver Major Land Transport Infrastructure.
"Proponents often couch big infrastructure proposals as ‘no cost to government’, but inevitably taxpayers are asked to contribute and they are entitled to demand value for money and wise allocation of resources," Kilgariff says.
This article first appeared on www.fullyloaded.com.au
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