Where was money for high speed rail in the Budget?
The idea of linking Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney with a high speed rail network has been on the table since 1984 when Prime Minister Bob Hawk tabled the plans.
34 years later, we are still talking about the same proposal. $125m has been spent by successive governments on studies and we are no closer to a metre of track being built.
“It is now time for Australia to commit to medium-speed rail, trains operating on new or existing tracks at speeds of between 160km and 250km/h,” Professor Rico Merkert, from the University of Sydney’s Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies wrote in The Conversation this week.
It's clear to anyone who has travelled on the current tracks in Australia's major states that the infrastrucuture is lacking for this type of expansion and that any improvement to our system will require new tracks and faster trains.
Private equity groups such as CLARA have suggested bold plans to create high speed rail networks with little cost to the Government. While these bold plans have merit, it hands over the countries infrastucture future to a private company funded out of Asia.
It's about time a Government set down a 10-year plan and stuck to it on high speed rail, or we will be left in the past, like what has happened with the NBN.