Time for Qld Govt to reconsider $5bn BaT Tunnel – my submission to the EIS process

BaTIt’s now time for the Queensland Government to consider public submissions on the underground Bus and Train (BaT) tunnel project, after the consultation period on the Environmental Impact Statement closed today. I took the opportunity to make a submission, extending an earlier post ($5bn BaT tunnel has unimpressive benefit-cost ratio) into a short letter to the Coordinator-General:

Adept Economics submission to BaT project EIS process

The main points I made were:

  • the cost-benefit analysis provides very little confidence the project will deliver positive net benefits to the Queensland community – benefits are estimated to be only 16% higher than costs over the life of the project, which is fairly concerning for a $5 billion project that is likely to be subject to the same risks of cost blowouts and demand shortfalls as other mega-projects (risks that if realised would lower the benefit-cost ratio); and
  • the EIS appears to assume that the approval of the BaT tunnel is a fait accompli, which is worrying both because of the unimpressive benefit-cost ratio and because all options to avoid inner city public transport capacity constraints weren’t fully considered – I would like to have seen a serious investigation of transport demand management options such as bigger differences between peak and off-peak public transport fares, TravelSmart programs, and staggered starting times for public servants working in Brisbane CBD (and I could have added tele-working).
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