This comment from Infrastructure Australia official Michael Deegan on the proposed Cross River Rail project is a concern (reported in the Brisbane Times today):
“We think it will be a transformational project for Brisbane and that’s a very important part of the nation,” he said.
Mr Deegan said Infrastructure Australia believed Cross River Rail offered genuine growth opportunities for the city.
“It will provide opportunities for the growth of the Brisbane CBD and provide more work opportunities for the people of Brisbane and the southeast corner,” he said.
Why does it need to be transformational, however? Doesn’t it just need to move people around at an acceptable frequency and comfort level at least cost? Alas, Infrastructure Australia maintains the wooly, costly nation building agenda it was given by former PM Kevin Rudd. Hence Infrastructure Australia appears to be on the look out for big projects that can be labelled nation building, even though funding may be better directed to an alternative more cost-effective project or a number of smaller projects.
The Newman Government is right to be skeptical of the high cost $6-8 billion Cross River Rail project, and the review it launched earlier this week of the project and other options is welcome. I wonder if the new Premier is still interested in the Brisbane Metro proposal he raised last year, as discussed in my previous post Cross River Rail or a Brisbane Metro?