Liberals say the real cost of light rail is $4,000 per household per year

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ALISTAIR Coe says the real cost of ACT Labor’s tram plan has been revealed through new analysis. The ACT Labor tram network will amount to $14 billion according to a former senior ACT Treasury official which means it will cost every household $4,000 every year.

“In an article which appeared in today’s Canberra Times, it is stated that there are only three options for dealing with the massive expense which is ACT Labor’s tram,” Alistair said.

  1. Cut spending on health, education and other services;
  2. Significantly raise taxes; or
  3. Abandon light rail.

    “Labor’s plan for 90 kilometres of tram tracks is expected to cost $14 billion. This works out to be more than $80,000 per household, or $4,000 for every household every year.

    “The Treasury official said light rail is a luxury and might lead to bankruptcy.

    “Every Canberran will pay for Labor’s reckless and desperate policies.

    “Andrew Barr will do anything to be re-elected, without considering the massive burden on Canberrans for decades to come, including imposing an additional $4,000 annual bill for each household,” Mr Coe concluded.

    UPDATE: Andrew Barr has been quick to respond!

    Canberra’s population is growing, but rather than developing a plan to manage that growth, the Liberals refuse to invest in the long term transport infrastructure our city needs to avoid becoming gridlocked like Sydney.

    ACT Labor is delivering on our commitment to build a staged city wide light rail network, whilst also investing more in our health and education systems. That’s what good governments do.

    Work is underway on the fully-costed and fully funded first stage light rail. This first stage represents less than one percent of the total ACT Budget.

    For every $1 we invest in light rail, we will invest $24 in education and $33 in health.

    This will continue over the years ahead as we further improve our education and health systems AND progressively build the city-wide light rail network.

    Stage one is already being built, and Labor has committed to build stage two to Woden, to create a strong public transport spine from the north to the south.

    In 1999 Kate Carnell promised a test track for light rail, in 2005 the Liberals said the case for light rail was strong, and in 2008 they complained it was taking too long. In 2009 they opposed Labor’s rapid bus services, and before the 2012 election they retreated even further saying Canberrans would only ever use cars. Yet immediately after the election they said they were very happy to work on light rail.

    But most recently the Canberra Liberals have promised to tear up the light rail contracts, wasting $300 million of ratepayer’s money on a traffic jam, and then incredibly, they admitted that Canberra will need light rail in 20 years’ time.


  1. How can Barr say LR will reduce congestion when the government’s own EIS clearly stated the LR on Northbourne will increase congestion, due to LR dictated changes in traffic signal priorities. Also the maximum capacity for the LR on Northbourne will be only 4000 passengers/hr (even at 3 minutes headway instead of 6 minutes) while a bus lane could carry 15,000/hr. The Woden LR tram will be limited to 70 km/hr (manufacturer’s specification) compared with the current express buses travelling at 80 to 90 km/hr. The fastest LR in Australia is at the Gold Coast with an average of 23 km/hr. LR will have 70% standing while buses have only 40% standing. As Infrastructure Australia said, LR is not suitable for Canberra.

  2. Half-baked re-reporting of half-baked reporting is not what I expect from City News. The $14bn ‘figure’ is given for a 90 kilometre network. When will the 90 km network be built please? Couldn’t be bothered to ask the questions? Didn’t think so. Just re-reporting the anti-government rhetoric in a dying outlet like the Times does you no favours.

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