Page 194 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 11 February 2015

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the same impact on public transport as light rail, but it would, of course, come with a much cheaper price tag, allowing for the opportunity costs of light rail to be properly explored.

One of the best things to come out of the new ACTION network 14 was the inclusion of the route 202 bus. The 202 runs five times each morning and takes an average of 23 minutes to get from Gungahlin to the city bus interchange—a minimum time of 19 minutes and a maximum time of 24 minutes. Already that is faster than the proposed tram. Already you can go from the city to Gungahlin or Gungahlin to the city faster than what the government is proposing with the tram. Yet somehow the tram is going to be a real boon for productivity and for people’s travel times. Already, without virtually any priority measures, you can get from Gungahlin to the city on a bus which is faster than a dedicated tram. The tram will have an average speed of 30 kilometres an hour. Imagine what you could do with some proper bus investment. The slowest bus leaves at 8.14 am, and that will be as quick as the fastest tram. It is these types of initiatives which Gungahlin residents should expect from their government.

A second change made by network 14 is the introduction of route 250, a limited-stop service from Gungahlin to Belconnen. I support this change, and it has made transport between Gungahlin, the University of Canberra and the Belconnen town centre far more appealing. With the 202 and the 250, the red rapid 200 series also successfully links Gungahlin to the city, Russell, Barton, Kingston and Fyshwick. Outside of peak hour, this service runs every 15 minutes and is the most patronised bus service in the ACTION bus network.

As we can see, Gungahlin has an array of attractive public transport options and much potential. Whilst it is not perfect and improvements can be made, the network itself is encouraging public transport usage. But it could be better. This is best illustrated by the recent patronage figures released by the Capital Metro Agency in the full business case. Capital metro will increase public transport patronage in the morning by about 400 or 500 passengers. That is why we are spending $783 million—to get 400 or 500 more public transport users. We have a district of 50,000 people and we are talking about an extra 500 people on public transport after spending $783 million. It is an extraordinary figure, and then you look at the opportunity cost of that $783 million. When you look at the opportunity cost of the annual availability payment of that project, we are talking massive, massive sums here. It shows why almost every single person who writes to the Canberra Times or has written opinion pieces on this issue has been critical of the project.

Why is it that Infrastructure Australia under Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd said no to this project? Why did they say no? Why did they say it is not even worthy of investigation?

Mr Corbell: That is a misrepresentation.

MR COE: That is what we heard from Infrastructure Australia. Infrastructure Australia clearly said in their 2013 briefing note that it is hard to justify investment in light rail when the very same proposal said bus investment is better. That is what the

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