Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cross River Rail - the roundabout of fail

Cross River Rail - will it ever happen?
A brief history of Cross River Rail (CRR)

2008 - Under the Bligh ALP government, the Inner City Capacity Rail Study recommends that Brisbane requires two rail tunnels in 2016 and 2022, as well as loads of track amplifications (most of which haven't occurred by 2015). Multiple routes for the new tunnel are analysed.

2010 - After considerable route analysis, the CRR reference design is finalised, with public consultation and environmental assessment completed. CRR is planned to run in tunnel from Yeerongpilly to Victoria Park. The ALP government (apparently badly advised by Queensland treasury department) also started to massively hike public transport fares which reduced public transport patronage and overcrowding, lessening the need for CRR, but also increasing road congestion.

2011 - Brisbane floods, funding goes elsewhere, and CRR opening is delayed to 2020. Federal funding (from both parties) wasn't forthcoming either - repeat for every year after. Later in the year, the ALP government release the pie in the sky "Connecting SEQ2031" plan.

2012 - Council of Loonies Mayors (SEQ) suggested the silly elevated "Cleveland Solution" plan which proposed to run higher frequency light rail services between Cleveland and Ferny Grove, but failed to factor in the cost of duplicating the Cleveland Line or elimating tons of level crossings. Later the the year, the Newman LNP announce a "cut price" CRR, in other words building CRR but not the essential infrastructure at each end.

2013 - The Newman LNP government scrapped the "shovel ready" CRR, and replaced it with the ill thought out Bus and Train (BaT) tunnel. This combined bus and train tunnel, likely planned on the back of a napkin, forgot about the essential interchange at Park Rd, and surfaced at Dutton Park so as to reduce property resumptions around Yeerongpilly. The CRR Albert Street alignment was replaced by BaT's George Street alignment, with George Street and Roma Street station construction being part of property (re-) development. Later in the year Tony Abbott becomes prime minister and being stuck in the 1960s, refuses to fund public transport.

2015 - The Newman LNP government was booted out by the voters, and the new ALP government culled the BaT. It has also been claimed that BaT tunnel was "never going to be built anyway" by the LNP government if they had stayed in power. CRR is now being re-assessed and is back in the planning stages. Concerningly, the Queens Wharf casino plans seem to not involve a station box construction for CRR - a major opportunity missed. The Yeerongpilly property issue also means that the original CRR plans there would have to be changed.

So after these 7 years, CRR is in the "planning stage" for the third time - making SE Queensland look like the village idiot of the western world.

What's likely to happen in the future?

2018 - The minority ALP state government gets dumped by the voters. The "shovel ready" (again) CRR gets dumped, and replaced by another ludicrous LNP plan (we'll call it BaTty). Brisbane spends millions of $$$ on a failed Olympic bid due to rubbish public transport.

2021 - The LNP state government tries to privatise hospitals and sacks public servants yet again, and thus gets dumped by the voters yet again. The "shovel ready" yet again BaTty tunnel gets axed by the new ALP government and replaced by CRR version 999.

2024 - you can guess the rest. Brisbane's roads gets increasingly congested due to insufficient train service, and thus more roads are built instead.

So how do we stop this spiral of political stupidity?

With difficulty! Given that we may be seeing one term Queensland governments for a long while, there needs to be bi-partisan support of any Cross River Rail plan, instead of it being used as a political football. Brisbane City Council (bi-partisan support as well) is also required to support the plan. BrizCommuter has concerns that this will not happen due to idioticy and self-interest of Queensland politicians. Federal governments also need to start investing more in state capital rail infrastructure - now Tony Abbott is out of the way, the latter may happen.

1 comment:

  1. Hey BrisCommuter,

    I thought you might be interested in this one.. The Brisbane Loop!

    Cheers! Andrew


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