So Northern Suburbs Light Rail has been written off by the Government.
We all knew it would come to this. Minister Michael Ferguson has for years conducted an excruciating charade, cherry-picking what he wanted to hear from report after report after report, until he could finally say: no light rail.
Well, if not light rail, what? A bus rapid transport system would cost almost the same and deliver much, much less than rail. That’s because rail equals certainty for investors, and that means money for housing, jobs and a thriving, liveable city.
Make no mistake, only rail delivers a city-shaping, holistic outcome. Every dollar invested in rail infrastructure returns four dollars in investment. Busses deliver … busses. That’s it.
What the Tasmanian community is crying out for is a Government that thinks beyond the election cycle, beyond headlines and the nightly news. Our politicians a hundred years ago invested in hydro electricity, for example, and could not have dreamed of the benefits three generation later, but Tasmanians today reap the rewards.
Northern Suburbs Light Rail requires the same vision. It requires thinking outside the square. In fact, it just requires thinking.
It’s not hard.
Unfortunately, politicians today are not up to the mark. Both Liberal and Labor. Where’s Elise Archer and Madeleine Ogilvy on this? Something that would transform their electorate yet they remain firmly in the bunker. Talk about out of touch.
And Labor is just as bad. We had a Labor government here in Tasmania from 1998 until 2014 and nothing happened. And they are still as good as silent on passenger rail.
When all factors are taken into account: transport, social, environmental, economic and liveability, light passenger rail on the existing corridor wins. By a mile.