FW: Daily digest, Tues.1.5.18
  Roderick Smith

-----Original Message-----
From: Roderick Smith [mailto:rodsmith@werple.net.au]
Sent: Monday, 14 May 2018 12:00 PM
To: 'transportdownunder@yahoogroups.com'
Subject: Daily digest, Tues.1.5.18

180501Tu Metro Twitter:
- Hurstbridge line Xtrapolis.
- South Yarra - Caulfield Comeng.

180501Tu Melbourne 'Herald Sun' - letters (road, rail, energy).


Tues.1.5.18 Metro Twitter
7.22 Hurstbridge line: Minor delays between Macleod and Hurstbridge (an
equipment fault near Macleod).
- 7.22 haha, typical.
7.50 Frankston line: Minor delays citybound through Mordialloc (an equipment
- 8.35 Same rubbish excuse as yesterday. Been waiting for 13 minutes at
Armadale for the 8.22 city loop. It arrived too full to get onto. Meanwhile
half a dozen express trains pass by half empty. Unbelievably useless.
8.24 Glen Waverley line: Minor delays (an equipment fault between Darling
and East Malvern).
- 8.29 Thanks for the non-announcement to passengers who have been sitting
here for the last 20 min not moving and having NFI what's going on.
- 8.31 What actually does classify as minor?
- 8.34 Maybe not minor. The 8.19 from Gardiner hasn't arrived, and there's
been no announcements.
8.35 Sunbury line: Minor delays (equipment faults near Diggers Rest).
- 9.02 It was so easy to get a park at Diggers rest station at AM. NOW,
8.45, it's full!
8.39 Alamein/Belgrave/Lilydale/Glen Waverley lines: Major delays for some
services through Burnley due to an operational incident.
- 8.48 Trains are again on the move, but with some major delays.
9.57 Belgrave line: Minor delays (police attending to a trespasser).
Services may be held.
18.27 North Melbourne: Passenger Information Displays are currently
experiencing technical difficulties. Please listen for announcements and
refer to printed timetables, or speak to Customer Service staff for service

104982: Burnley Down Goods L1167, during level crossing removal works at
Burnley Street and quadruplication of running lines between Burnley and
Richmond. . 10 August 1964. (Weston Langford).

Melbourne Express, Tuesday, May 1, 2018
9.06 Train delays up to 30 minutes on the Alamein and Glen Waverley lines
after an earlier operational incident at Burnley. Also major delays on the
Werribee line.
Buses will be circling Parliament House this afternoon in a protest over the
government's bid to overhaul contracts. The action is planned to coincide
with the state budget, due to be handed down at 13.30.
8.08 There's waterworks in Nicholson Street, Carlton North. [tram delays?].
7.35 there are minor delays on the Cranbourne, Frankston, Glen Waverley and
Pakenham lines. Hurstbridge commuters are still on the buses.
* A Californian gym is making a power of good out of clients' workouts.
Sacramento Eco Fitness has fitted out its running and cycling equipment to
harvest the energy and store it in batteries used to power lights, laptops
and phones.
Its electricity bill has dropped from $680 to $30 a month. One spin class
produces enough power to run two fridges for 24 hours.
Spencer Street roadworks. Both southbound lanes will close from 8pm tonight
until August. It's a sewer upgrade.
It's budget day. We know about the infrastructure and education spending.
And there's bound to be other announcements in the Victorian government's
pre-election budget today. But where are the billions coming from?
5.59 Train delays already on the Glen Waverley line. Delays up to 10 minutes
(an equipment fault near Darling).
A large inflatable duck escaped a charity event in Des Moines, Iowa, after
breaking free of its tethers, and was spotted tumbling down a road as
motorists calmly drive by. https://abcn.ws/2JzqkMx

Canberra tram. Between Kate Crace St & Mapleton Ave overhead wire
installation has been completed. Whilst height of OHW above Australian
standard, over 6.0m, truck drivers must comply with road restrictions. OHW
installation is underway! http://canberra-metro.com.au/safety

1.5.18 5 min guide to the budget:
Roadworks: The budget is heavy on road funding, with $2.2 billion to improve
suburban roads, and $940 million for regional roads.
Trains boost: Ailing trains get a boost, with $10.8 million for new Wyndham
Vale and Seymour services and more money for new regional trains.
There is $100 million set aside for another five six-carriage trains, and
$50 million to fund new metropolitan bus services for seven suburbs.
New tram route: Planning a new tram route between Caulfield and Rowville
will use up $3 million, but there is no funding for new trams, and modest
funding for accessible tram stops.

Victorian state budget 2018-19: Winners and losers 1 May 2018.
video: Victorian state budget: Winners and losers.
The state government has unveiled a big spending budget, who got lucky and
who missed out?
The Losers
The Winners
Households. Every household can receive a $50 bonus for comparing their
energy bills online.
The outer suburbs. The Andrews government will spend $50 million on
community projects such as parks, swimming pools and sporting grounds.
Fisherman's Bend. A total of $4 million has been announced to complete
planning for the new suburb.
The Losers
Home purchasers. They are expected to pour a record $7.1 billion into
treasury coffers through stamp duty this financial year.
Property investors. They will fork out an extra $550 million in land tax,
largely because a land revaluation is underway.
The Winners
Regional train commuters. More than $400 million for new services to Wyndham
Vale, Seymour and Shepparton, $130 million will pay for signalling upgrades
in Maryborough, Ararat and Ballarat, while $15.8 million will go towards
procuring new regional trains.
Residents of growth areas. More than $50 million will fund improved bus
services to seven suburbs, including Bentleigh, Greensborough, Werribee and
Narre Warren.
Daily train users. Upgrades to the suburban and regional fleet will see $100
million for five six-carriage Xtrapolis trains and nearly $16 million for
planning for new modern regional trains.
Road users in the suburbs and regions. More than $2 billion in full funding
will upgrade 13 suburban arterial roads, while more than $700 million under
a separate package will continue widening the Monash Freeway from Chadstone
The Losers
Tram users. There is no new money for new trams, and no separate funding
package to make tram stops accessible.
Bus users. Metropolitan bus punctuality fell below target last year, and the
number of regional passengers declining to 12.6 million, down from a target
of 15 million.
Cyclists on St Kilda Road. Cyclists will receive $22.3 million over four
years for upgrades to bike paths, but the city's most dangerous cycling
streets such as St Kilda and Sydney roads will not have separated bike
The Losers
Defence manufacturing jobs. They get $2.9 million for advocacy and advisory
activities, a small consolation after Victoria lost the bidding war for the
Land 400 contract to Queensland.
The recycling industry. No extra money to fix Victoria's recycling crisis.
Homeowners still face steep increases in council rates.
The Winners
Regional roads. Almost $1 billion has been pledged over the next four years
for improving and upgrading regional roads. The Andrews government is
putting twice as much this year into mending damaged regional roads ($165.2
million) than metropolitan ones ($88.9 million).
The Shepparton line. About $300 million funding goes towards the Shepparton
train line upgrade, which will enable faster connections and more journeys
each day.
* A new prison is definitely needed. New train lines and rolling stock are
needed. Extended tram services are needed. Ext...
* rent affordabilty will drop! landlord WILL raise rents to cover the extra
land tax (and i will put money on that)

Victorian state budget 2018-19: Tim Pallas' budget for the burbs, big
spending on mental health and free TAFE Courses 1 May 2018. 30 comments.
A blockbuster budget will direct billions of dollars to transport, health
and education infrastructure in Melbourne's growth areas and Victoria's
regions, where November's state election is likely to be won and lost.
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas has this year embarked on a record-breaking
state government spending spree, with $13.7 billion already flagged for
roads, public transport and other infrastructure to ease pressure created by
the state's rapid population growth rate of 2.4 per cent a year.
...."Compared to four years ago, cost of living is up, taxes are up, debt is
up, the crime rate is up and there is nothing tangible in this budget to
help families or households get ahead," Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said.
Despite the record spend on infrastructure, Mr Guy said the budget contained
"no clear plan to manage Melbourne's out of control population growth".
Many of the new schools and road upgrades are aimed at growth areas in
marginal electorates.
The bumper budget has largely been funded by continued growth in revenue
from land taxes and stamp duty, which are forecast to raise more than $10
billion in 2018-19.
The 2018-19 financial year is expected to deliver a surplus of $1.4 billion
with average annual surpluses of $2.5 billion over four years.
Net debt has reached $19 billion, representing 4.6 per cent of gross state
product, budget papers show.
Many of its biggest investments had already been announced.
Several congested roads in Melbourne's north and south-east will be
expanded, at a cost of $2.2 billion, while $571 million will go to power and
signalling upgrades for the Pakenham and Cranbourne rail lines.
Five more trains will be built for the Metro system, at a cost of $103
Etihad Stadium will get a $225 million upgrade while suburban sports venues
will get $246.1 million.
* "Net debt has reached $19 billion, representing 4.6 per cent of gross
state product, budget papers show"Which is very l...
* Looks like the Liberal trolls have been waiting to sprout their jealous
but oh so negative hogwash. Meanwhile, little ...

Get out of town! Pallas, Andrews hit the roads with billion-dollar 'dazzler'
1 May 2018.
Treasurer Tim Pallas declared a "dazzling day for Victoria" on Tuesday as he
handed down his all-important and big spending election-year budget.
The Premier and his Treasurer have crafted a budget for the 'burbs and the
regions as Labor looks to the marginal seats where November's contest will
be won and lost and tries to counter criticism that this has been an inner
centric government.
So while it remains to be seen if this budget can achieve its central aim of
getting Labor elected in November, it is clear after Tuesday that Andrews
and Pallas won't die wondering.
No Victorian treasurer has ever had more money to spend than Pallas, who
conceded on Tuesday he sometimes couldn't believe how well the state's
economy was performing, with average surpluses of $2.5 billion forecast.
And few have been less shy about shovelling the cash out the door.
The numbers do indeed dazzle; $2.2 billion for suburban roads, $941 million
for country roads, a record total of $13.7 billion to be spent on
infrastructure in 2018-19 alone, with an average of $10 billion to be spent
annually for the following three years.
There's $313 million for faster trains for Shepparton, $572 million for
upgrading the Sunbury, and Cranbourne-Pakenham lines, $50 million to look
into fast trains to Geelong.
The list goes on, but you get the picture, with Pallas declaring there was
$4.3 billion in the budget "for regional Victoria".
And there's plenty of cash in the kitty for more election promises as the
election approaches.
* Daniel Andrews has been a rare ray of humanity, humour and
straight-forwardness in politics. If Matthew Guy is somehow ...
* Once again cycling has missed out.

Blow to WestConnex after state loses legal battle over acquisition 1 May

Opal fares set to stay in line with inflation - or less 1 May 2018.
The Berejiklian government has indicated it will keep any Opal fare increase
in July at the rate of inflation or less, as it gears up for the state
election next March.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the government would continue to
"disregard" a recommendation by the state's pricing regulator two years ago,
and would "not do anything that hurts families - unlike our Labor
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance at
Wynyard Station in Sydney's CBD on Tuesday. Photo: Janie Barrett
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal urged the government in 2016
to raise overall public transport fares by an average of 4.2 per cent
annually over a three-year period.
Mr Constance said the government would release shortly its plans for Opal
fares for the next financial year, and he spruiked his party as one that
"puts downward pressure on prices".
"The observation I would make is that last year we had a CPI adjustment,
[and] before that we had no adjustment," he said on Tuesday, when he drew
attention to the Opal network clocking up 2 billion customer trips since it
was launched in 2012.
"That compares to Labor who in one year alone doubled the pensioner
excursion ticket when they were in office."
But Labor transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay said the minister was trying to
paint a "very rosy picture" that did not reflect reality, citing a rise in
average Opal fares since paper tickets were phased out in 2016.
"He needs to be honest in what he does in future with Opal fares. People
should have certainty about what they can expect," she said.
Internal government figures have previously shown that the average Opal fare
rose by 10 per cent in the 15 months after an overhaul of ticketing in
September 2016. That increase in the average fare included the 2.4 per cent
rise imposed by the government on July 3 last year.
* But Labor.... but Labor... they would be just soooo bad. Bad Labor! We
aren't Labor. We're really really good.
But anyway, back to Labor. They're just so bad. Like really really bad...
* They have a hide even increasing fares with inflation, the trains are so
unrealiable. I could not even get a seat on the newcastle line last week.
Poor transport for a top price. Also my wage isnt even going up with
inflation. Who
even runs this country!
* Won't do anything to hurt families?
Why the sudden change of heart with respect to train fares, you've been
raising them above inflation up until now. And I seem to remember I could
previously buy an annual ticket and get a discount, because I was lending
money to the
government. Now I cannot. Also the ninth-plus free trips, where have they
And no need to stop at train fares, what about all the other things you are
willing to do to help your mates at the expense of families, like build
stadiums instead of schools and local sports, and overdevelop Sydney?
Your claim to not hurt families is so weak it's cringeworthy.
* Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the government would "not do
anything that hurts families".
If that's the case then how about stopping compulsory acquisitions of homes
and properties, a policy that has just been ruled unlawful for an extension
of WestConnex into Rozelle and Lilyfield?
* The increase in pensioner fares cannot be compared to an effective 10%
across-the-board fare increase for all brought about by introduction then
rejigging of opal fares. The government is being disingenuous trying to tar
Labor for
being responsible for a bigger increase.
Pensioners still get an exceptional deal paying just $2.50 for unlimited
travel (and maybe less for short train and bus trips). This is well under
half a full fare.
Public transport is a service, and should be encouraged in order to take
cars off our roads, reduce pollution, green-house emissions and congestion,
while also encouraging healthier lifestyle (i.e. "active transport" - walk
bus/train), and more connected community (interact with others rather than
being cocooned in a metal box).
The government is right to keep future increases capped at inflation, and I
hope they stick to their guns on this.
* the Government didn't increase the base fares by much last year, but
adjusted the conditions to give a hefty rise for some travellers.
* Yes. It's the old pea and thimble trick. Unfortunately you can't believe
anything Ferry McFerryface says.
* The "no adjustment" in 2016 is completely untrue. The Baird and
Berejiklian Governments first took away periodical fares (supposedly under
the guise that they didn't fit the Opal card model, yet Melbourne's travel
card, for example, allows a periodical ticketing scheme), and then removed
the "replacement" to periodical fares by removing free fares after 8 in a
week. I'm spending a lot more on public transport than I did 3 or 4 years
ago for those very reasons. Add to that the multiple train delays in the
last year, to which we have received no compensation, and Sydney transport
patrons are doing pretty badly overall.
* Opal fares should be frozen for at least three years after the 12.5% hike
every regular commuter was slugged with when the free trips were changed to
half price trips.
Constance McConstanceFace can go and pound sand if he wants to claim Labor
are worse for public transport fares than his mob.
* This is the mob who allowed toll road owners to increase fares by 4%pa,
regardless of inflation!
* And the families they threw out of their homes for WestConnex without fair
compensation? What about them?

Victoria's big-spending economic blueprint worth $288 billion
Herald Sun May 1, 2018.
video: Big spending Victorian State budget.
NEW emergency department crisis hubs to separate ice addicts and the
mentally ill from other patients, free TAFE courses and a splurge on city
and country roads have been unveiled in today's State Budget.
Treasurer Tim Pallas has announced a big-spending economic blueprint worth
$288 billion, underpinned by soaring property and payroll taxes fuelled by
massive population growth.
More than $100 million will be spent creating the emergency department
"crisis hubs" for mental health patients, at six sites across Victoria.
They will be built at Monash Medical Centre, St Vincent's, Geelong, Royal
Melbourne, Sunshine and Frankston emergency departments.
What we know so far.
Among the 30 priority TAFE courses that will become free of charge, in order
to get trainees into jobs the government says are needed, are Diploma of
Nursing, Certificate IV in Engineering, and a Diploma in Building and
Many of the courses are designed to get people into infrastructure-building
jobs, spurred by a $40 billion spend on roads, rail, schools and hospitals
contained in the Budget.
Other big ticket items unveiled in the Budget include:
A COUNTRY and suburban roads package worth $3.3 billion;
A $50 energy bill bonus aimed at easing cost of living pressures;
Mr Pallas said that the TAFE course were designed to skill Victorians in
jobs that were emerging - including in the public sector due to the
infrastructure boom.
Opposition Leader Mathew Guy warned there was nothing in the budget to ease
cost of living pressures and flagged a Coalition plan to be released in the
coming weeks that would be more focussed on families.
Shadow Treasurer Michael O'Brien raised concerns about public sector costs
which will blow out to $25.5 billion in 2018/19.
He also claimed the majority of the roads funding announced was not new
putting lives at risk as country roads continued to deteriorate.

State Budget 2018: Your five-minute guide
Herald Sun May 1, 2018.
video: Big spending in Victorian State budget.
VICTORIAN Treasurer Tim Pallas has unveiled a State Budget spending spree on
hospitals, roads, prisons and schools.
Among the projects to get a funding boost are the North East Link, the
Geelong to Melbourne fast train, Etihad Stadium, Lara Prison and Victoria's
Heart Hospital.
* $1.4 billion surplus
* Stamp duty to rise from $7 billion to $7.7 billion in four years
* $24.1 billion total tax take 2018/19
* Triple A credit rating remains
* Total revenue up $5.5 billion to $69.5 billion 2017/18
* Spending up $6.2 billion to $68.1 billion
* Net debt up $4.7 billion to $24.3 billion
* $2.2 billion to ease congestion on Melbourne's busiest arterials
* Planning of North East Link fast tracked with $110 million boost
* $941 million to fix country roads
* $712 million for Stage 2 of Monash Freeway Upgrade
Because the 'fast trains' to Geelong aren't fast enough, $50m has been set
aside to work out how to make them even faster.
* $50 million for Geelong-Melbourne fast train planning
* Upgrades on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines at a cost of $572
* Regional rail services to receive $704 million boost
* Revamp of Port Melbourne's Station Pier at $5.8 million
* $4.5 million boost to Victoria's Major Events Fund
* $82 million to upgrade women's sporting facilities and venues
* $225 million redevelopment of Etihad Stadium
* Households to receive $50 bonus for signing up to Govt's Energy Compare
* Cap on the Utility Relief Grant for struggling families increased from
$500 to $650
* $1.9 million to make train passes cheaper for regional students
* $153.2 million for Geelong City Deal including convention centre
* $313 million upgrade and new VLocity trains on Shepparton line
* $43 million to upgrade CFA and SES facilities
* Increase lifeguard patrols at Victoria's most high risk beaches at a $11.5
million cost
* Speed camera fines increase by $3 million to $371 million
* On the spot police fines jump $8 million to $150 million
* Toll road evasion fines surge $21 million to $140 million
Comments 27

Cash to ease traffic jams and crowding on busy train lines across Melbourne
Herald Sun May 1, 2018.
OVERCROWDED roads and railways will receive more than $6 billion in upgrades
over the next five years in a pre-election boost to some of Victoria's most
congested transport corridors.
A $2.2 billion funding package will upgrade 13 arterial roads identified as
traffic bottlenecks across Melbourne's northern and southeastern suburbs.
"This will slash travel times, improve connections between our fastest
growing communities and give local roads back to local residents," Roads
Minister Luke Donnellan said.
Maintenance works will strengthen the West Gate Bridge to handle increased
freight volumes and $500,000 will be put aside for a review into new truck
driver training.
Hundreds of regional roads will also be fixed under a $941 million scheme
partially funded by the sale of Victoria's share of Snowy Hydro Limited.
More than $1 billion has been allocated towards Melbourne's heaving public
transport system, with funding for train, tram and bus services to jump by
nearly 20 per cent.
A new order of five Xtrapolis trains will be introduced to the network over
the next three years and line upgrades will pave the way for high-capacity
trains to travel the full length of the Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham
New bus routes and additional services will be added to suburbs in
Melbourne's west and southeast under a $55.7 million pledge.
"This Budget continues our overhaul of Victoria's public transport system,
to run more services, more often and get people home safer and sooner,"
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said.
"We're delivering the services passengers need now and building for the
future - removing level crossings, ordering new trains and delivering the
Metro Tunnel."
The State Government will also begin detailed planning of a fast train to
Geelong and put $1 million towards a business case for active transport and
tram connections to Fishermans Bend.
Funding for train and tram services was more than $380 million than forecast
in 2017-18 Budget after Metro Trains and Yarra Trams signed new franchise
agreements last year.
In his Budget speech, Treasurer Tim Pallas said the Andrews Government had
invested more than $35 billion on road and rail projects.
"They create tens of thousands of jobs, ease congestion in the suburbs,
better connect our regions and make it easier to move freight," he said.

Australia's billion dollar infrastructure boondoggles
news.com.au May 1, 2018.
THEY'RE the billion-dollar projects that should never have been built - and
there's a risk the same mistakes are about to be repeated all over again.
video: Victorian government to inject $40 billion into infrastructure
AUSTRALIA is being buttered up for a multi-billion dollar infrastructure
bonanza in next week's budget. Road and rail projects are expected to be
showered with taxpayer funds courtesy of Canberra.
But economists have warned that grand infrastructure projects can become
billion-dollar wastes of money.
One highway upgrade in Victoria has returned just 8c for every dollar of
public money invested in it. A proposed rail link could cost a motza and
still be slower than the bus.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Federal
Government would chip in half of the $10 billion cost of a rail link to
Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport.
"The time for talk is over . Melbourne is still waiting for a service almost
all of the world's great cities take for granted," he said on April 12.
But for Grattan Institute transport expert Hugh Batrouney, it is still not
certain that a Melbourne airport rail link is really worth it.
"My first reaction (when the announcement was made) was to look at whether
the project was included on any of the infrastructure bodies' priority lists
and then to have a look to see if a detailed business case had been
prepared," Mr
Batrouney told news.com.au.
"The answer to both of those questions was 'no'."
On the most recent priority list drawn up by Infrastructure Australia, a
government body that assesses big projects, the rail link barely rates a
mention. Infrastructure Victoria said the link wasn't needed for 30 years.
Co-CEOs of SkyBus, Adam Begg and Michael Sewards. The service could actually
be quicker than a $10 billion rail link to Melbourne Airport.Source:Supplied
Amazingly, the billions spent could actually make travel to the airport
I nfrastructure Victoria has said an alternative plan, of spending up to
$100 million on traffic priority measures, could speed up trips on the
existing SkyBus to just 20 to 25 minutes. In contrast, the expensive new
train would take 30 minutes to go between Southern Cross and Tullamarine.
But the urge to build is hard to resist.
"The issue, particularly in Melbourne where there is such strong population
growth, is there's a perception the city is under developed in
infrastructure. There's a feeling we need to make up for that perceived
infrastructure deficit," he said.
It's not that Melbourne doesn't need an airport rail link; it just doesn't
need a train right now. And money spent on this train, can't be spent on a
train somewhere else.
Backers of big projects, with close-to-the-bone budgets, say the benefits
aren't just economic. They can enhance safety and revitalise neighbourhoods.
But what other questionable infrastructure projects are being - or have been
- built?
The duplication of the Princes Highway, in southwest Victoria, returns only
8c to the economy for every $1 invested. Picture: Kris ReichlSource:News
Corp Australia
Economists have long questioned the financial sense of expensive
infrastructure that is not within Australian cities, or provides a link
between them.
The A1 Princes Highway duplication in Victoria, which is still being built,
does neither. Rather, it connects a regional city, Geelong, to a regional
town, Colac.
The upgrade costing $500 million, is not included on Infrastructure
Australia's priority list, and has a return of just 8c on every dollar
invested, according to the Grattan Institute. By some measure, over the
period of a decade,
taxpayers have subsidised every vehicle on the road to the tune of 13.7c per
kilometre travelled.
Only the Forrest Highway, between Perth and Bunbury - which went five times
over budget - has a higher cost per vehicle kilometre.
"A project can have merits beyond the economic case, there is no doubt about
that," Mr Batrouney said. In the A1's case, that included easier access for
tourists to the Great Ocean Road, the elimination of accident black spots
and the opening up of southwestern Victoria.
But it's been a high price to pay for those benefits.
The M7 'Clem 7' tunnel looking very empty at 1pm in the middle of the
day.Source:News Limited
The M7 Tunnel is one of a number of expensive road tunnels, including
Sydney's Lane Cove Tunnel, that never fulfilled its promise.
The $3 billion tunnel under Brisbane's CBD saw three times less traffic than
was expected and ended up sending its private owner bankrupt.
Tracks for the Canberra light rail under construction.Source:News Corp
The 12km tram project to link the CBD to Gungahlin is well under way with a
price tag of about $700m. The Grattan Institute has previously found it will
provide no more benefits than an alternative bus rapid transit project but
cost twice as much.
But the ACT Government has said a bus can't compete with the urban
development and property price hikes that a tram line brings.
Keeping the rail line through Newcastle's CBD would have had more financial
benefit than ripping it up and replacing it with a tram on neighbouring
streets.Source:News Corp Australia
In Newcastle, where a light rail line is also on the way, the justification
is even more dubious. The less-than-3km tram line will cost about $300m and
will replace a curtailed commuter train line.
A leaked NSW Government report found its return is expected to be less than
one dollar to the dollar. But if the train line had remained in place and
development had occurred alongside it, the return would have been $2.40 per
invested, Fairfax reported.
The proposed Western Sydney Airport metro station: A case of too much, too
soon?Source:News Corp Australia
According to Mr Batrouney, the proposed western Sydney airport rail link
falls squarely into the Melbourne rail link category of building too much
way too soon.
The new airport at Badgerys Creek is right at the top of Infrastructure
Australia's to-do list. But a rail link, speeding people from the
surrounding areas to the terminal costing as much as $7b, is not. Yet both
the federal and NSW
governments have signed up for it.
"The airport is due to open in 2026 but the Western Sydney Rail Needs Study
found rail wasn't needed for at least the first 10 years of operation so
that puts it out to at least 2036," he said.
Backers of the Inland Rail project say it will take many trucks off the
road.Source:Getty Images
It's the $9b railway the vast majority of us will never see. Snaking its way
1700km from Melbourne to Brisbane, its backers say it will take masses of
freight from congested highways, create 16,00 jobs and pump $16 billion into
economy. But the Grattan Institute said it would "never add up", that
traffic projections were hazy and a cost overrun - likely on a mammoth
project - could wipe out any benefits.
An artist's impression of the Melbourne East West Link, which was cancelled
by Labor at a cost of $1 billion.Source:Supplied
The crowning glory of uneconomical infrastructure, however, is Melbourne's
inner-city East West link, which cost $1.2 billion NOT to build.
The road was controversially signed off by the then Victorian Coalition
government weeks before the 2014 state election, after criticism the project
did not have a rigorous cost-benefit analysis in place.
Labor, which had campaigned against the project, won the election and
cancelled it. But, said Labor, to build would have cost at least $6b.
In a piece for The Conversation, Mr Batrouney said governments shouldn't
splash out on big projects until they had looked in detail at the economic
impacts and opened the results up to public scrutiny.
"We shouldn't be fooled into thinking any spending is good spending. There
are many examples where the opposite is more likely true: where poorly
targeted infrastructure wastes resources and weakens economic growth," he

Eastern Sydney bus fare dodgers cost $1 million a month 1 May 2018, 97
One million dollars a month was lost due to passengers on buses in the
eastern suburbs avoiding their fares from June to December 2017, new
Transport for NSW data reveals.
Sydney public and private bus operators lost about $17.7 million in revenue
due to fare fudging passengers in the second half of 2017, up $4 million on
the same period in 2016 and about $5 million more than the six months prior.
Recent losses were driven by the eastern suburbs area where rates of people
minimising the amount they pay to ride the bus rose from about 4 per cent in
May 2016 to almost 10 per cent of passengers in November 2017.
Buses in the eastern suburbs are losing millions due to passengers evading
fares, unlike the good citizens in this photo. Photo: Louie Douvis.
The number of people estimated to be paying for the right ticket on public
transport in Sydney declined on buses and trams but increased on trains and
ferries in the six months to December 2017. The estimates are derived from
a survey conducted every six months (in May and November) by a market
research company that takes a representative sample of fare evasions to
extrapolate across the network.
Across all modes of public transport, the rate of people not paying their
way was stable in 2017 at about 6 per cent, in Melbourne the rate of
shirkers was less than 5 per cent last year.
Half of the people who skipped their fares in Sydney did so by not tapping
an Opal card or carrying no ticket at all. The rest either claimed a
concession fare without proof or had other reasons such as a lost school bus
A Transport for NSW spokesman said people not paying the right amount to
travel on public transport cost NSW taxpayers $83 million last year.
"[That] is money which could have been reinvested in the network," the
spokesman said.
There was an increase in people failing to produce a valid entitlement for
concession cards, including adults travelling with a child concession Opal
"A campaign based on behavioural insights has been designed to help
customers do the right thing by tapping on and off with a valid Opal card,"
the spokesman said. "[It] is currently being rolled out on the suburban and
intercity rail network, and on buses in the eastern suburbs."
Sydney trains recorded a better result, losing $16.1 million revenue to fare
evasion in the six months to December 2017; $2 million less than the first
six months of 2017 and about $1.5 million less than the same period in 2016.
The rates of fare evasion were higher in the afternoon peak hours and on
weekends for almost all modes of transport.
Fines for being caught travelling without a valid ticket, not paying the
correct fare or using a concession ticket without a valid entitlement card
range from $200 to a maximum of $550.

Victorian state budget 2018-19: Pallas tests the limits 1 May 2018.
Tim Pallas describes his budget as a statement of faith. It is, and not only
of faith that Victoria's extraordinary population boom will continue and
necessitate the building of even more schools, roads, railways and
hospitals. It's
also a statement of faith in property prices.
Buried within the budget is an assumption about how fast property prices
will continue to grow. Amazingly, after briefly dipping to about 2.5 per
cent, price growth is assumed to bounce back to more than 5 per cent a year
for the last three years of the budget projections and presumably beyond.
The latest figures for Melbourne property prices, released as the Treasurer
prepared to deliver his speech, show a drop of 0.7 per cent over the past
three months, which is pretty much the same as a plateau, after almost a
decade of
continual increases.
Had the budget instead assumed steady property prices it would take in about
$250 million less than forecast from stamp duty and land tax in 2018-19 and
as much as $2 billion a year less by 2021-22.
Treasury officials believe they've good reasons for assuming price growth
will bounce back.
Related Victorian state budget 2018-19: Tim Pallas' budget for the burbs,
big spending on mental health and free TAFE Courses.
Historically, average price growth has been more than 5 per cent a year,
and, discounting events such as the global financial crisis, prices have
never stopped growing for long.
Also, Melbourne's rapid population growth is affecting prices in an unusual
way. Price growth is slowing in inner and metropolitan Melbourne, but
continuing strongly in outer Melbourne.
Treasury's methodology doesn't allow it to assume a recession or a crisis,
so is forced to assume an overall pickup, even though Pallas has asked it to
be conservative.
It is on stronger ground predicting a jump in grants revenue of 10.3 per
cent next financial year, most of it from the Commonwealth which doles out
GST collections.
The Grants Commission has told it it will be compensated for very strong
population growth (about 150,000 people a year, which is the population of
Canberra every three years) and also to a lesser extent for getting less
than its fair share of Commonwealth infrastructure funding.
In future it is expecting more modest growth in grants revenue of 3 per cent
a year, a figure that very much depends on the Commonwealth's decision about
a change in Grants Commission formula due later this year.
Video Victorian budget: what does it mean for the 2018 election?
State Political Editor Noel Towell describes the 2018-2019 Victorian budget
as a "pitch for re-election" for the Daniel Andrews government.
Pallas is correct to call it an infrastructure budget, but it is more
cautious than it seems. He is spending $13.7 billion on infrastructure in
the coming year, but only $2.8 billion of it will be on new projects.
His new road and rail programs amount to $4 billion, but only $383 million
will be spent during 2018-19. His new program of schools upgrades will cost
$1.4 billion, but only $658 million will be spent during 2018-19.
It is true that major projects take time, but it's also true that Pallas
regards himself as bound by his commitment to keep government debt below the
level he inherited in 2014, which is about 6 per cent of gross state
product. It's an unreasonable straitjacket. Victoria's needs are growing
much faster than before he took the job.
Video Victorian state budget: Winners and losers
The state government has unveiled a big spending budget, who got lucky and
who missed out?
In earlier budgets he wasn't as bound by the straitjacket. He could
privatise things to fund infrastructure instead of running up debt. He has
more or less run out of things to privatise, which means he feels there are
limits to what he can do.
There are also real limits. Victoria is running low on concrete, and running
low on the skills that are needed to build what needs to be built, which is
one of the reasons so much of the budget is centred around building up
Pallas is pushing up his wages bill by 10.1 per cent in the year ahead to
take on the teachers and police and public servants and hospital and other
staff to keep up with demands. He is testing the limits where he can.
Victorian treasurer delivers budget address
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas delivers his budget address to media in
Melbourne on Tuesday, with jobs and skills the focus of keystone budget

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