This weekend marks one year since the release of the Capital Metro Full Business Case, making it a good time to re-evaluate whether light rail is viable in Canberra. The Business Case demonstrated exactly why light rail shouldn’t be built, and a year on, there is only more evidence to discredit the project, Shadow Minister for Transport Alistair Coe said today

“Over the last year, questions raised by experts, further studies and unexpected events should cause the ACT government to re-evaluate light rail. We need to remember the wafer thin Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) is likely to worsen from 1.2 with even just a minor cost blowout or incorrect assumption,” Mr Coe said.

“Contrary to further evidence to support light rail, there is much to discredit it:

Economist and former ACT Treasury public servant, Dr David Hughes critiqued the Full Business Case and described the project as ‘worse than folly’. He also noted that ‘unsubstantiated and implausible claims about light rail’s effects on land use and the ACT economy’ were included in the Full Business Case.

Economist and Associate Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University, Dr Leo Dobes noted there was a ‘disturbing lack of facts on the table’ when it came to the cost-benefit analysis included in the Full Business Case.

“Furthermore, the Capital Metro Environmental Impact Statement indicated that traffic would not improve as a result of light rail. TAMS responded to this saying even with light rail there would be no significant traffic improvements. Also, the Heritage Council decision protecting 17 properties along Northbourne Avenue limits the government’s ability to redevelop land on the corridor and hence reap any benefits.

“The case for light rail is getting worse and the government knows it. This issue needs to be put to Canberrans at the October 2016 Election,” Mr Coe concluded