Analysis of the ACT Light Rail Stage 2

An important paper to be circulated

Attached is a must read document: Analysis of the ACT Light Rail Stage 2 project.

This Analysis:

  1. Builds on the ACT Auditor-General report on the ACT Light Rail Stage 2 project. He considered the light rail to Commonwealth Park may have been be underestimated and the project’s economic benefits overstated. He recommended that the economic analysis be reviewed and updated, including its assumptions and costs and benefits.
  2. Critically reviews the ACT Light Rail Project Stage 2 to determine whether it, at huge cost ($1.9 billion and counting), it is the most effective way to achieve the ACT Planning Strategy 2018 for the integration of land use and transport planning to make Canberra a more livable city.
  3. Incorporates other analyses by relevant experts on the costs and benefits of light rail vis-à-vis electric buses generally and the ACT Light Rail specifically. Put succinctly, their overall position is negative, e.g. the Productivity Commission states it “will leave it to the (Joint Standing) Committee to ponder the relative attractiveness of light rail when such projects have consistently seen major cost blow outs (see the Sydney light rail project currently underway). Suffice it to say that Government resources are limited and there are many other calls on the public purse that are likely to be more highly valued than the ACT light rail project..
  4. Notes that the COVID19 pandemic will do more than either light rail or electric buses to move people away from their car dependency. It is expected to result in commuting activity declining by an average of 25-30% with an equivalent decrease in emissions. Further reductions in emissions would occur as electric vehicles become the norm. The ACT Government Sustainable Household Scheme should be expanded to include residential charging stations.

Please circulate

I received this paper from Albert Oberdorf

His background over some 50 working years includes:

  • Senior Land Acquisition Officer, Department of Lands, Surveys & Mines, Papua New Guinea
  • Manager, Major Projects & Secretariat, Aboriginal Development Commission
  • Director (ACT Private Enterprise Land Development Strategy), Federal Department of Territories
  • Manager, Tourism, Hastings Council, NSW
  • Manager (Land Sales), ACT Department of Environment, Land & Planning
  • Managing Director, Asia Pacific Design Group (Chongqing) Pty Ltd, PRC




Paul Costigan is a commentator on the visual arts, photography, urban design, environmental issues and everyday matters.

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