Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fast trains and a tribute

Below is a post I planned to do some work on, but I have decided to publish as is in a tribute to Paul Mees who died yesterday at the very young age of 52. He was much more than just a clever bloke and public transport activist. I doubt I would have such interest in public transport had I not been stimulated by frequently hearing Paul speaking in an informed and educated manner, yet also using great common sense. He is well known around the world in public transport circles and he will be much missed.

A train to the our airport? Not if it takes 30 minutes, thank you very much.  What is the point of building a train line to the airport if the trip will take longer than a bus? I think it should be a ten minute trip.

High speed train to Sydney, why not. Could the high speed train also service our airport? Of course it could. Could an airport train, a high speed train to Sydney and the proposed Melbourne Metro line be all combined. Oh yes, they could.

Will they return a profit? Maybe, maybe not.

Is profit and viability all about what life is? Viability certainly is but some things need to be provided as a service and if they cost more than they return in income, then the benefit to the public needs to weighed up to balance the cost. The above mentioned projects would be extremely beneficial to the public.

Our governments brag of their AAA credit ratings, which means our governments can borrow money very cheaply. What is the use of a high credit rating if you don't use it to borrow? Our infrastructure is very underfunded, the planning of our cities a disaster and big money needs to be spent. It won't fall from the sky, so if taxes are not increased to pay for what needs to be done, then the money needs to be borrowed. The way things are becoming, any interest paid might be cheaper than what our poor infrastructure is costing us.

7 comments:

  1. In the world of business, profit reigns supreme and the general public can get stuffed.
    At least that's the way we lower ranked riff-raff see it.

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    1. River, that is what seems to happen when governments palm off their responsibilities to private enterprise.

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  2. I think the problem is that people don't want to see a profit coming about gradually, say twenty or thirty years down the track when such methods of transport (or anything else)become commonplace and more and more people use it. They want their profits immediately if not sooner.

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    1. You aren't wrong there. From company profits to governments, everything is short term.

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  3. The 'wonderful' world of economic rationalism has denied us many fine innovations. Following on from River's point - the 'people' interested in seeing a profit, or at least a noticeable benefit are often politicians, who work on a 3 or 4 year cycle, with most 'innovations' needing to be started AND completed within an election year!!

    Some people say I'm cynical ... but I don't believe them!

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    1. Yes Red, little long term vision and certainly no 'light on the hill'. One good thing Howard did was complete the rail line from The Alice to Darwin, yet it is considered a mistake and a failure and a waste of money. Not in my book.

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  4. Perth also Andrew..too much money being spent on 'you know what' not enough for real stuff ! Bloody pollies

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