VFT Rises Again By James Reed

     I remember back the early 1990s there was a big move to make Australia part of Japan with the MFP Japanese city, and the Japanese financed Very Fast Train (VFT). Fast forward to colonialism today, I do not know the role that China money, the new rulers on the block will play, but we will soon see:

“Labor has promised to spend $1 billion buying land between Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane to build a future high-speed rail link. The investment would stop land along a 1750-kilometre corridor identified for a proposed bullet rail line from being swallowed by suburban sprawl, potentially adding billions in acquisition costs to a project expected to cost up to $114 billion. Australian governments have pursued visions of a high-speed east coast rail link since the 1980s. But the federal opposition’s $1 billion pledge would be the biggest financial investment ever made towards the concept. Anthony Albanese, Labor’s infrastructure spokesman, said the pledge “would end nearly six years of Coalition inaction and finally deliver progress on a project that will revolutionise interstate travel and regional development”. High-speed trains would travel at speeds of up to 350km/h and cut the journey time between Melbourne and Sydney, and Sydney and Brisbane, to as little as three hours, Labor said. Acquiring land along the corridor will require the help of state and territory governments, and Mr Albanese said a Shorten government would set up a high-speed rail authority to manage this. The authority would also work with the private sector, including overseas companies experienced in building and operating high speed rail, to make the vision a reality.

Labor’s vision for high-speed rail adopts the findings of a $20 million feasibility study commissioned by the former Gillard government in an agreement it made with the Greens in 2010. The 2013 study identified a 1748-kilometre route between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with stops at more than a dozen regional cities along the way. Mr Albanese said the project “will be an economic game-changer for communities along its path”. “It would bring these communities closer to capital cities, allowing for increased commuting while also strengthening the case for regional business investment,” he said. The study proposed building the rail in stages, starting with a link between Sydney and Canberra, then southwards to Melbourne, before heading north to Newcastle, the Gold Coast and Brisbane. Mr Albanese said it was important to start to buy the land now to protect it from developers.”

     I recall that the 1990s VFT was debunked by an accountancy student who showed that plane travel was still cheaper. Maybe this same objection can be made to stick again, and save us billions, as well as compulsory land acquisitions.



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Wednesday, 24 April 2024

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