It’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:
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).