Feedback to this website

Chris Emery [] December 10, 2015

David Apps (CT letters 2/12/15) promotes our light rail from Perth, a city known for excellence in public transport, with a heavy rail backbone and even fare-free buses. However, two Perth light rail projects have been abandoned or shelved in favour of bus rapid transit, due to cost.
David needs to understand the very low population density of Canberra. North to south Canberra spans 41km, the same distance as Joondalup to Murdock in WA, a trip that takes 52 minutes by heavy rail. Light rail would take about 98 minutes, travelling at the average operating speeds achieved in Australia. Heavy rail would easily fit into Canberra, in the same way as it does in Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane - but is much more expensive than either light rail or bus rapid transit.
David suggests that carparking is not needed once a city has light rail. As only 2% of Canberra’s population will live within walking distance of a light rail station, once Stage 1 is finished in four years, Park and Ride is an advertised feature of Canberra’s new light rail.
On light rail only 25% of its capacity can be seated, compared to 60% seated on bus rapid transit. Strap hanging might work for short distances but Canberra has long distances, like Perth. In Melbourne, where i grew up, trams are used to reach the nearest heavy rail station, rather than make the whole commute to work, simply because trams are too slow.
CanTheTram is a group of highly qualified public transport advocates whose vested interest is to get the best public transport system for Canberra. Their website explores a number of hi-tech solutions in addition to bus rapid transit.

Geoffrey Fitzgibbon [] December 9, 2015

I sent an email to the Chief Minister some months age to rethink this very stupid idea, I suggested to him then, that if he put in a two way bus lane from Gungahlin to City, to Russell, to Barton, and buy 5 new Articulated Buses and run them continuously all day he would pay for all that with less than half the cost of this tram-line system, and have enough money left over to build a new Hospital over in Gungahlin, and have enough work for the next 5 years for the local workforce.
There is no way we need a light rail here in Canberra, for God's sake, it's only a country town, and what is Tuggeranong, and Weston Creek going to gain from it other than to have to pay for it through their taxes.
Can you imagine on a cold Winter's morning having to leave home, catch a bus, get off at Gungahlin, catch the tram-line, get to Civic, get off the tram, and catch another bus to get to their destination, you must be joking, they are treating the people of this town like idiots'
I would say to those people, ban the tram, utilize the buses better and build a badly needed Hospital over in Gungahlin which is more important to cover all the new suburbs that is growing there and in west Belconnen.
Hope this helps to ban the tram, this is my personal point of view, and i've been a bus driver here with ACTION for 48.5 years.
Thank you

Margaret Smither [] December 8, 2015

I wish to voice my opinion in regards to light rail. The first is that the cost is horrendous and we will all suffer as we are now with our rates. Our children and grandchildren will be the ones to suffer because it will of course go well over budget as all the Labor constructions have. I have just been overseas and yes used light rail but they were in cities of thousands of people and cities and towns where there was a large tourist invasion most of the year. Secondly to build it to cater for one community the Gungalin area is a disgrace. During the day it will be a white elephant plus if many want to use except on the Gungalin route we will have to drive or walk some distance to catch the light rail. Thirdly to destroy the trees down Northbourne Avenue is criminal. How many years for the new trees to grow. The pictures of the light rail look lovely but they are only computer orientated. Fourthly improve the bus lanes and times, maybe have small buses running during the day. Light rail cannot go down the same streets. Also I hear the government is trying to take away free travel for over 70s. Why are the young trying to take everything away from older citizens. We have worked hard for what we have today. Not all of us have a huge retirement bank, but I do agree many who have are abusing the system cleverly.
Ban the light rail.

Gerald Lynch [] November 3, 2015

Subject: Canning the Tram
The University of Sydney Transport Opinion Survey (TOPS) which has been surveying public opinion on the subject for a number of years, added two new questions to its September 2015 survey.
The first asked: If you were asked to spend $100bn over the next 5 years on transport improvements, what percent would you spend on roads and public transport?
and the response was :
On average, Australian residents would like to spend roughly the same amount of money on public transport (51%) as on roads (49%), with a slightly higher percentage of spending on transport improvements in major cities and capital cities.
The second asked: If you could choose between spending the same amount of money on either 30 kms of one new rail corridor or 300 kms of dedicated bus lanes spread around a capital city, which would you choose?
and the answer to this was:
Overall, with the same budget, three in five Australia residents would prefer to invest in 30 kms of rail corridor than 300 kms of dedicated bus lanes.
A reality check?
Yours sincerely,
Gerald Lynch

Dear Gerald
I don’t believe survey results that you quote are relevant to Canberra. The opinions expressed have to have a context to be meaningful.
Light rail is the right option for dense populations and short journeys.
Even after the new light rail routes are implemented in Sydney , the number of passengers travelling on light rail will be a tiny percentage of those travelling by train.
That is indicative of the problem we face in Canberra.
BRT is proposed for Canberra as an economic investment that addresses the journey distances that are involved for commuters. Trams cannot deliver express service.
There are a number of other issues in the Canberra context.
John Smith
Acting secretary, CanTheTram Inc.

Martha Kinsman [] June 11, 2015

Peter Newman’s case in support of light rail for Canberra (Times 2, June 3, p.5) may mislead some readers. The Perth rail system, to which Newman refers in glowing terms, is a heavy rail network which connects commuter belt towns and suburbs to the Perth CBD. Perth does not have a light rail system.
As M R Flint points out (Letters, 6 June, p.5), the Perth heavy rail system is irrelevant to the light rail debate in Canberra. Professor Newman himself seems to be well aware of the distinction between light and heavy rail. In a recent paper he advocated light rail for Perth but admitted that ‘in reality light rail would not have worked in the long corridors of Perth until a substantial, fast, heavy rail system was in place down each corridor’.
As the ABC reported in March this year, the WA government has now put on hold earlier plans for a Perth light rail because its preliminary analysis indicated that the same outcome can be delivered by rapid bus transit (RBT) at just half the cost. Perth thus looks set to follow Brisbane in abandoning plans for light rail in favour of RBT.
The ACT government has an obligation to all Canberrans to follow the lead of these other Australian cities and commission a genuinely independent, comprehensive and transparent analysis of the relative costs and benefits of light rail and RBT in Canberra.

Martha Kinsman [] June 11, 2015

Letter to Alistair Coe, Liberal party Dear Mr Coe Congratulations on the announcement that the ACT Liberals have advised tenderers of the intention to cancel the light rail project if you win government in 2016.
I am strongly opposed to light rail as a means of commuter public transport. However, I think that successful opposition to the current light rail project requires an alternative that extends beyond just more buses for Action. Can you consider the construction of busways which can be just as rapid as light rail if not more so and could serve many more areas of Canberra for the same or less cost. A busways project could be planned as a single integrated project with clear stages of implementation rather than the piecemeal approach adopted by the current Government to light rail.
I also think that if there has to be a light rail, it should be a light rail loop around the city (around London Circuit, Russell offices and possibly to the airport). This might be well received by Canberra business and would certainly improve connections between the east and west of the CBD.
Thank you for your thought and work on this issue.

John Simsons [] June 10, 2015

Letter to Alistair Coe, Liberal party Hi Alistair, The Canberra Times last Saturday reported that you believed roadworks on Northbourne Avenue were needed to give buses priority. A single bus lane on the median strip, with off set stops to allow passing, would provide that priority in conjunction with the following (or similar) operating schedule:
1. During AM hours the buses TO CIVIC travel on the median strip lane and return via existing lanes which are less busy at these times.
2. During PM hours the buses FROM CIVIC travel on the median strip lane and for same reason return via existing lanes.
The return lanes could be next to the footpaths or next to the median strip. The later has the advantage of having all bus stops and shelters on the median strip serving all inwards and outwards lanes.
And, of course, a single bus lane on the median strip would not affect the tree lines.

Russ Morison [] June 10, 2015

REFERENDUM ON LIGHT RAIL NOW Several weeks ago I threw down the gauntlet to Andrew Barr indicating his government do not have a mandate to build a no less than $12 Billion light rail network across Canberra at taxpayer expense. Waiting for a reply. Formal debate on Light Rail has been gagged by the Government, and the community at large have discussed it at length through this media. The Liberals have said they will tear up the contract, though it appears the government will make that contractually difficult and very expensive (read wasting taxpayers money) to do so. Such a Big Ticket item needs to be the subject of a public referendum NOW and BEFORE and SEPARATE FROM a business as usual 2016 Election. Worried about your rates now-watch them skyrocket in five-ten years time when the tracks are bedded in! Apathetic Canberra, now is the time to DEMAND a Referendum  from the government. Canberrans are over public transport.

Sandy Paine [] June 10, 2015

Graham Bridge (“Can light rail match up?”, Canberra Times, Monday 8 June) is absolutely right. Not only is light rail outdated technology, but studies have shown that even today’s buses along the same route are faster and more efficient than light rail can ever be. Trams are confined to a single line in each direction, so, as Graham points out, overtaking is impossible and trams travel at the speed of the slowest. If there is a mishap on the line causing a stoppage, the line goes into gridlock. The thinking behind it is unsophisticated and unworthy of our renowned and forward-looking national capital. 
The ACT Government must reconsider this project, and not waste valuable funds locking us into a system that is patently inflexible and not state-of-the-art. Smaller buses, twice as many of them, and thus a greatly expanded network seems to me the way to go, especially as battery-driven electric propulsion must become feasible for buses in the fairly near future.

Kent Fitch [] June 10, 2015

Slow train coming
The ACT Government's "Transport for Canberra: Transport for a sustainable city, 2012–2031" convincingly states the necessity of  "Rapid Service" public transport along dense corridors using light-rail or rapid-bus with a minimum journey speed of 40km/hr. Capital Metro endorsed this requirement on its website last year (preserved by NLA's Pandora), claiming "The service will be a Rapid Service as defined in the Government's transport policy 'Transport for Canberra'. An average speed of 40 km/hr (including stops) is required for this service."
That commitment was silently removed before their Business Case was released, which aimed for an average speed under 29km/hr with a 5 minute peak-period service interval.  Last month, this interval was silently stretched by 20% to 6 minutes, perhaps prompted by the realisation that the average speed will be more like Gold Coast's new light-rail's 22km/hr, and 12 trams isn't enough to provide a 5 minute service.   I expect the next step in the marginalisation of public transport will silently redefine "Rapid Service" as 20km/hr to keep Capital Metro compliant.
Gungahlin residents deserve to keep the Rapid Service they and other Canberra bus travellers currently enjoy.  Property developers excepted, all residents will be disadvantaged if the current light-rail proposal proceeds.

Peter Curtis [] June 8, 2015

The ‘green’ argument needs to be dealt with, are they saying that light rail is greener compared to bus emissions? To that end;

Has a thorough Environmental Impact Study been done any where about the full cost of the light rail? This would mean costing steel manufacture, fabrication of the bogies and carriage work. This means we could contrast with the equivalent bus services and roads and costs of maintenance for that 12.5k of rail. The ALP has Unions ACT campaigning on the grounds that it will create 3.5 thousand jobs. This will be the key campaigning point. Have you heard any figures about jobs. I do not know where the figure has come from so it very nebulous. We need to get some break down of jobs – will they be admin, construction, retail and so on Will steel and rail be produced here? Will bogeys and carriage work be manufactured here? Has there been costing done in this regard?
I think more needs to be done on the PPP too – and how it is costed and its budget impact – the info may be there already but we need to find a way to make it easier to understand. I believe the money for the project comes out of the recurrent budget – how can we explain the impact on the budget generally and drain on funds to other areas?
I have attached a leaflet which raises the argument of social justice and equity which is the critical lens we need to argue in the labour movement.

Graham Macafee [] June 4, 2015

ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, is a land baron. He demolishes inner city public housing. Labor profits immensely from selling the land to developers.
But what about the poor people that Barr evicts? They’ll be housed in cheap and nasty flats (on cheap land) in bleak outer suburbs.
His tram plan is a land grab. Barr will demolish public housing on Northbourne Avenue. Huge profits come from selling the land. But what about the public tenants that Barr evicts?
They will join others in bleak, outer suburban ghettos. Remember the Baringa Gardens ghetto? It’s back.
What can we do? Thank God for democracy.
We can vote for the real ACT Liberal Party.
Or we can vote for Barr’s Liberal Party.
Somebody is flying false colours.
And it’s not Jeremy Hanson.

John Simsons [] May 24, 2015

The No Trams Alternative
Often the tram advocates suggest  that there is no alternative to trams for public transport. There are alternatives.
Wherever a tramline is proposed a bus lane can be built since trams are heavier than buses either by tons/metre or by tons /passenger criteria. Furthermore, bus lanes will be cheaper because of: 1. No tramlines nor supporting sleepers. 2. No overhead wires nor supporting poles.  3. No DC sub stations. 4. No new AC voltage infrastructure since the existing 3 phase 415 volt supply cannot provide the 600-700 volts DC required by trams. 5. No need to move the utilities as there is no stray currents to get into metal pipes and buses can detour for a while around any utility repair requirements.
Consequently, for the same capital outlay more dedicated bus lanes can be built providing improved public transport to more people. Also, new transport technology can be introduced progressively whether it may be electric buses, car road trains or autonomous vehicles.

M. Silex [Erindale ACT] May 24, 2015

Another $50 m for Light rail
The Sunday Canberra Times (24May15) reports that the Budget on 2Jun15 will provide another $51.8 million for light preliminaries. Capital Metro is currently spending $30 million of budgeted funds. Therefore, almost $82 million is now planned to be spent before any construct and operate contract. Silly me! My independent estimate had the figure at only $60 million through to 2018-19. Readers should note that this $82 million is on top of the $783m capital cost and $22.2 million annual subsidy (Government Business Case figures) and the interest burden on the $783 million over 20 years (ignored in the Business Case and by Government). Do your own sums and see if this wasteful project makes economic sense!

M. Silex [Erindale ACT] May 24, 2015

Light rail Contract Price Risk
I have just listened to a podcast that had Chief Minister Barr as a guest on 21May15, talking about light rail, among other things. He insisted that, once the PPP contract is signed, that the contractor bears all of the risk, except patronage risk, and therefore there would be no blow-out in the contract rice. How naïve politicians can be! Those who have worked on major projects and know something about associated risks, as I have and do, know full well that inherent risks are always there, in spite of who bears the risk. Risks can be minimised, at a cost; they can be transferred from buyer to supplier on the principal of the best able to control the risk should bear it, at a cost, or they can be retained and borne by the buyer. Mr Barr says that it will be a fixed price contract; ie would not change once signed. What Mr Barr and buyers like him seem to think that risk can be transferred free of cost. Of course the contractor would know best where the risks lie and the likely costs incurred if eventuating. However, the contract price will be inflated considerably to cover those risks, in reality more than the cost of the government retaining them. Mr Barr also naively thinks that there is no chance of the contractor defaulting on the contract if it starts to lose money on the deal, because whichever of the two consortia would be backed by wealthy companies. I’ve got news for him – commercial companies do not tolerate loss-making deals and they do default – witness Melbourne trams some years ago!

Col Whittaker [] March 4, 2015

Much has been said in these columns about a Light Rail System for Canberra.  Irrespective of the views for or against, it is clear that it will cost a lot of money to provide relatively few people light rail travel from Gungahlin to Civic and back again during morning and evening rush hours; it will be under-utilised for the rest of the day, and running costs will be heavily subsidised by the Canberra taxpayer.
Despite the hype that building it will bring development and 'vibrancy' along the route, this has not the outcome in some other light rail systems.  It seems necessary to point out North Canberra and Gungahlin have nowhere near the population densities of cities where light rail systems have been successful.  Many London suburbs, for example, have populations well over 300,000, with a massive bus and rail network to cope with these numbers. Canberra's entire population is around 380,000. North Canberra? 43,700! Gungahlin? 32,500!.
For a light rail system that might work in Canberra, it needs to follow a route that provides a constant stream of passengers from early morning to late evening,  throughout the day, seven days a week, in both directions and seamlessly link in with routes in the existing bus network. With the likelyhood that Canberra Airport will, in the future, become an international  airport for passengers and freight, Messrs Rattenbury and Corbell should pull their heads out of the Gungahlin sand, open their minds and see the wider possibilities that would bring more benefits to the ACT than a light rail link between Gungahlin and Civic. An opportunity for them to exercise visionary acumen exists to initiate a long term plan for an truly integrated transport system between the airport and Civic. This would involve light rail, an interstate coach and freight terminal at the airport, and improved rapid bus routes connecting outlying areas and town centres to Civic, and the light rail system to the airport, as well as road links for coaches and road freight from the airport to the Majura Parkway.
Canberra Airport forecasts 4,500,000 passenger movements by 2018/2019, many of these movements could involve use of interstate coach travel, the light rail link to Civic, and rapid bus transport, to and from the Airport.
A light rail route from Civic to Canberra Airport, with stops at Russell, Duntroon, the Airport, terminating near the Canberra Business Park, with a possible later extension to Queanbeyan, could be built alongside the Lake on an extended foreshore. The track in this location would minimise disruption to the existing Constitution Avenue,  Parkes Way and Pialligo Avenue infrastructure, with less disturbance to existing traffic than might  be the case with a route from Gungahlin along Northbourne Avenue to Civic. Note, few trees would need to be removed.
At present, the Civic coach terminal is poorly located, parking to drop off or waiting to pick up a passenger is practically impossible, and parking spaces nearby restricted to taxis. Relocation of the interstate bus/coach terminal to the Airport would reduce coach traffic in the Civic area and cars stopping/parking to drop off or pick up coach passengers, as they would catch an Action bus to Civic, then a light rail trip to the Airport to board a coach or plane.  
Infrastructure on this scale would obviously require the cooperation of Federal, Territory and State governments, planning authorities and stakeholders with freight and air transport interests, to contribute to the  planning and funding for an integrated transport hub befitting of the national capital.

Jim Wells [] November 24, 2014

Here are some comments (on the business cse for light rail):
There is much in this that I either don’t understand or feel is wrong or misleading, eg

Rail car – air pollution and greenhouse – a tiny fraction of other modes? I don’t think so.


Rail less than a car? – perhaps it’s meant to be per passenger but that’s not what it says.


Someone has pointed out in the Canberra Times that the tram will be slower than the current express bus so where the time savings come from is anyone’s guess – not documented at all.

Intrigued by this (p96):
"Note also that public transport fares are not explicitly captured in the analysis as they are merely transfers. That is, they represent both a negative impact on travellers and a positive impact on the public transport operator - and therefore cancel out. Such a treatment is consistent with best practice."
There’s an interesting reference to the ‘rule of half’.

Leon Arundell November 6, 2014

Letters at City News:
The ACT Government's 2012 submission to Infrastructure Australia estimates a benefit-cost ratio of 4.78 for investing $276 million in buses, combined with urban infill. That equates to $1.3 billion in benefits. Spending an extra $338m on light rail would generate only an extra $117m of benefits. Buses will be more cost-effective than trams, over the range of discount rates from 4% to 10%.
Bus rapid transit will allow us to use that $338m to retire some of our $1 billion Mr Fluffy debt, or to invest in high value projects. $1m would provide transit lanes along Northbourne Avenue. $2m would fix the bottleneck at the Federal Highway end of Flemington Road. $10m would fund twenty-five walking and cycling projects that will each be more cost-effective than the City Cycle Loop. Some of the $338m could build cost-effective footpaths to enable more Canberrans to walk to local shops, schools, jobs and transit stops.
Light rail would deliver thousands of passengers every day onto the median of a dangerous 400 metres of road that accounts for 6% of Canberra's pedestrian crashes. Half of Canberra's pedestrian deaths occur on roads like Northbourne Avenue, whose wide medians encourage risky road crossings because pedestrian signals turn red while pedestrians cross the median. Median rail lines would prevent narrowing the median to allow pedestrians to cross in a single pass.
The Business Case estimates light rail's benefit-cost ratio at only 1.2. Light rail's costs may actually exceed its benefits, if that estimate contains even relatively small errors. For example, Canberra's 2004 Sustainable Transport Plan projected that bus mode share would increase from 6.7% to 9%, but it only reached 7.9%.
The Business Case fails to account for the thousands of tonnes of greenhouse emissions that would be caused in building light rail, or for emissions from the implied 38% increase in car commuting trips. It assumes an increase in amenity that is equal in value to a 10% reduction in journey time, even though tram users would spend more time walking to and from widely spaced tram stops, and would have to factor an extra three minutes into most journeys, to allow for waiting at pedestrian signals to cross to and from the median.
Until the Government publishes the workings behind the Business Case, we will not know if it was affected by errors like those in the 2011 Trunk Walking and Cycling Infrastructure report, that underestimated the cost of the City Cycle Loop by 97%, biased its ranking 9 to 1 in favour of projects near employment centres, and invalidated all of its “cost-effectiveness” estimates. October 17, 2014

An interesting article from New York. Their rail system cannot cope, they are moving to more buses. September 15, 2014

Why Light Rail causes Tunnel Vision — A Critique of the Non-Critique of Transport for Canberra August 30, 2014

My thoughts are that a guided-bus system should be far more an economic proposition than a dedicated tram system.
As I understand it this should allow for some of our existing buses to be fitted to travel along a guided rail and at either end of the track the buses may then resume normal road system travel along the suburban streets. That is the guided rail is simply a form of express travel with limited stops.
Even more economic would be a seasonal park and bus commuting system where car users should be able to pre-pay for a combined dedicated ticket that would provide a car parking space bus travel to work or to entertainment venues.
Have the above more equitable and lower cost options been considered?

Unpublished Letter, The Canberra Times, August 17, 2014 from Les Broderick, Farrer

In suggesting that there is a rational transit-oriented case for the government’s light rail program, Stephen Saunders (Letters, August 16) invokes the late Paul Mees’ analyses of the saga of public transport in Canberra.
I think Paul Mees would have rejected outright the self-fulfilling prophesy that is the Gungahlin-Civic light rail proposal – let the developers build high density dwellings and commercial properties along the corridor and the required patronage will materialise.
Mees advocated a network planning approach in which similar service standards are applied across an entire city to create an integrated public transport network that mimics the ‘go anywhere, anytime’ convenience of the car.
The light rail proposal, as it stands, is completely opposed to this vision for two reasons. Firstly, the distances involved in inter-node travel in Canberra require express services which ipso-facto cannot be provided by trams that are also servicing local stops. Secondly, there are the first class travellers who live and work on the transit corridor, and the remaining majority who are condemned to multiple mode changes on a network that cannot have express services unless they are provided by an alternative bus rapid transit system. July 29, 2014

I don’t understand how Light Rail can be the preferred answer when making the left lane of Northbourne Avenue into a bus lane has not even been tried. It is almost as if they want to make the buses look bad. Seeing it will be 6 years before trams are running on Northbourne, and longer if no private equity is forthcoming, at least try a bus lane. The cost would only be some road paint. July 29, 2014

I received your flyer in my mailbox for your website.
As a resident of Turner, I agree with many of the sentiments raised. If the ACT Government can’t even run a bus system, what makes them think they can run a $1bn tram line? I further object to the proposed additional levy on properties in close proximity to the tramline. This line benefits residents of Gungahlin – I certainly have no need to ever go out to Gungahlin, so why should I have to pay even more on top of my already exorbitant rates to support this ill-conceived venture?
While this is all well and good, there doesn’t seem much we can do anyway. Canberra quite clearly has an established and unbreakable obsession with supporting the inept Labor government – and this is the sort of thing that only a change of government will stop. July 14, 2014

Light Rail Folly (Youtube) July 6, 2014

The debate on light rail seems to be sidestepping several important details and alternatives. 1 Trams on rails with overhead wires are an outdated concept and an anachronism in Canberra. We live in an era of rapid change and such a fixed system is unlikely to respond adequately. Buses are so much more flexible and we have them on hand. Canberra already has 435 buses of various sizes. Why establish another different maintenance infrastructure, risking a very large stranded asset we may not be able to afford? 2 We would need 100% assurance that such a trolley system used to obtain power from overhead wires is completely free from electrical sparking. Electrical induction of power from constant or intermittent emitters buried in the road is a much safer system and is suitable for trams or buses. It is currently in operation in Korea, Germany and Sweden. Overhead electrical transmission has a very poor safety record in Australia. 3 Trees and overhead conductors don't mix easily and it is usually the trees that suffer ugly disfigurement from trimming back. 4 If the first route starts with a rail and wire system then all future routes must be the same despite more economical advances in energy transmission technology. Wirescape, poles and junction boxes throughout Canberra would be counter to Canberra's aesthetic intentions. 5 Canberra's early planners successfully managed to avoid most of the ugly examples of "wirescape" so common in Sydney and Melbourne. Why are we trying to emulate their mistakes ? 6 Finally, yet again money is tending to dominate the debate. Little by little, developmentally conditioned mindsets are using economics to make this beautiful city a copy of Sydney or Melbourne. It is a slow, imperceptible process, but it is happening, just like the "boiling frog" story. Is this what we really want ? July 5, 2014

My general concern is that this Government is taking on more debt that has to be serviced. Deficit annual budgets seem to ongoing. Our costs of living are already high and our utility bills are continuing to increase every year well above CPI. Our rates are increasing at 10 per cent annually and that will continue to offset the ongoing reduction in stamp duty income from property sales. Inevitably, our rates will be lifted even further to service the increasing Government debt. The ACT will become too expensive for young people and retirees to live. They will move to cheaper jurisdictions which will reduce our population and place a heavier financial burden on the rest of us. So my concern is for the people of Tuggeranong (although same applies elsewhere ). Their standard of living will inevitably fall because the costs of living are going to easily outstrip any rise in their income. The Government should abandon unnecessary projects like light rail. This one in particular because it is such a big price tag. There is no way it will cost $614 million. Sydney light rail recently announced a new 12 km project from Moore Park to Circular Quay via George St. Price tag of $1.6 billion. Same distance as Civic to Gungahlin. If this Government insists on starting this project before the next election which is their aim, they should commit to a final cost figure before starting. And then agree to resign if the project's cost blows out. I'm sick of politicians not taking responsibility for their decisions when they go disastrously wrong and leave us with the financial consequences.. June 28, 2014

I’ve had a couple of other letters recently published in the Ct on the Capital Metro project (see:Upside to the budget and Sexy vs boring). You might also be interested in some analysis that was done by the Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC) in 2002 relating to public transport (see: >An open letter to all residents of Canberra regarding the future of public transport and An open letter to all residents of Canberra regarding the proposed Gungahlin to Civic Tramway). PDFs of these 2 documents are attached for your reference. The arguments discussed are still valid, though the dollar values are now a bit dated. It appears that most of this material has been ignored in favour of an ideologically-based preference for light rail by Ministers Corbell and Rattenbury and the Capital Metro Agency. June 28, 2014

I like your website June 24, 2014

To save money if the recent budget cut backs to the ACT go ahead, then the Metro Folly should be abandoned, as there is no need for a light rail system when dedicated bus lanes might be just as effective. Sorry Mr Rattenbury, although I may admire some of the political objectives of the Greens towards the environment, if you want to do something 'green' then do something about the stinking green pond in Tuggeranong. Although I am a Molonglo constituent in South Canberra who has absolutely no requirement to travel between Civic and Gunghalin, my contribution to removing the Green is going to be by voting Liberal, who do not support light rail, at the next ACT election. April 7, 2014

I have written to CT about the proposed Capital Metro, arguing that it is about 40 years too late, and that it cannot be simply "retro-fitted"! To my mind, a tram- or light-rail-based system should have been included in the planning for Weston Creek, Belconnen, Tuggeranong and Gungahlin, starting some 40 years ago! The routes, the rights of way, the depot(s), the power supplies could (and should) all have been included in the overall planning for each of those developments - but they were not. Instead, ACTION routes just grew higgledy-piggledy, with no overall strategy of how best to meet the public transport needs of Canberra - and it costs us residents $100 million per annum in cash!
As I also mentioned I am a great fan of trolleybuses - quiet, emission-free and fast. They could be used instead of trams and, with modern technology, they can travel for up to 5 km without power from the wires, eliminating the "dead trolleybus" problem. I have ridden them extensively in Vancouver, Canada and in San Francisco. I remeber them in use in Hobart and Launceston in the mid-60's - very good up hills!
My firm belief is that Capital Metro will die sometime in the next 12 months - hopefully sooner - because the capital funding (requested from Federal coffers) will not be there - ever! April 2, 2014

I congratulate you on the look, and timely manner in which you are building this website.
A small correction to my contribution – the latest ACTION subsidy is $110m. according to my source (whose job it is to know these things.) Which represents 85% of total Action “revenue” April 3, 2014

Why are we bothering with the construction of a very expensive light rail corridor to Gunghalin when we already have an existing light rail corridor lying unused on one of Canberras most congested transport corridors.
I refer, of course, to the Fyshwick to Queanbeyan (Bungendore) rail line. Presently this is only used for one train to Sydney a day. With a proper timetable this line could be available for commuter transport.
At worst the costs would be one or two possibly purpose built trams, a passing section of track as a luxury, a bus interchange in Fyshwick with large buses to Civic to connect with regular Action services. Also I guess a new station in Queanbeyan with parking.
At least this would provide an opportunity to try Canberrans out on light. It could probably be managed for the present cost of salaries being spent on a nonexistent light rail system March 27, 2014

Congratulations on setting up your web site. I hope it encourages more people to oppose the tramway project. When Canberra Times published my letter it not only shortened it but also distorted the paragraphing. Would you please make the following changes on your website: changes have been made as requested - webmaster