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Report card 2009 (part 3): Nation Building Program spends only 23% on rail, long list of motorways

(1) Infrastructure Australia Act 2008

Infrastructure Australia was set up under an Act in 2008

http://www.frli.gov.au/ComLaw/Legislation/Act1.nsf/0/8D482E840B59D9DACA257427000C1FBB/$file/0172008.pdf

In clause 5.2.a Infrastructure Australia’s function is

“to conduct audits to determine the adequacy, capacity and condition of nationally significant infrastructure, taking into account forecast growth;”

This implies perpetual growth without the requirement of a resource analysis (e.g. fuel and energy requirements for the construction and operation of infrastructure).

Clause 5.2.b requires IA to develop priority lists but criteria for these priorities, e.g. minimisation of fuel use, are not mentioned. So the Act itself does not know about peak oil.

The only limiting factor can be found in clause 5.2.g

“to provide advice on infrastructure policy issues arising from climate change;”

nothing more than a lip service.

(2) Have projects been selected as part of a strategy “Away from oil” and to reduce CO2 emissions? Let’s calculate the proposed expenditure on rail projects as a percentage of total expenditure, taken from the MOU list of ongoing and proposed projects for all States

http://www.nationbuildingprogram.gov.au/funding/projects/index.aspx

The result is shown in this graph.

nation_building_program_mode_share

Only 23% are spent on rail. While nothing can be said against ports and road maintenance almost 2/3 of expenditure goes into what includes a long list of motorways which are definitely not a preparation for declining oil production. A typical example is this:

Hunter Freeway ($1,451 million): yet another peak oil ignorant project
http://www.crudeoilpeak.com/?p=1203

Almost half of the rail budget goes into one rail line (Regional Rail) in Melbourne

“Delivering Melbourne’s newest sustainable communities”

http://www4.transport.vic.gov.au/vtp/pdfs/rrl_dpcd_report_for_public_consultation_part1.pdf

Sustainable? Let’s have a look at this cross section:

rail_cutting_manor_lakes_blvd_greens_rd_werribee

Obviously, rail is not meant to replace car traffic. This is the wide transport corridor:

wyndham_vale_manor_lakes_blvd

The car based shopping centre is NOT near the rail station

wyndham_vale_manor_lake_subdivision

Double garages with large concreted areas, just your average run-of-the-mill subdivision

wyndham_vale_manor_lake_double_garages

Simultaneous ring road planning (extract from planning document):

Outer Metropolitan Ring / E6 Transport Corridor Project


The Outer Metropolitan Ring / E6 Transport Corridor is being planned to accommodate a 100 kilometre long high-speed transport link for people and freight in Melbourne’s north and west, creating the opportunity for new road and rail transport links through the Werribee, Melton, Tullamarine, Craigieburn / Mickleham and Epping / Thomastown areas to be provided as transport demand warrants.

The planning for the transport corridor provides options for an ultimate freeway standard road, capable of up to four lanes in each direction and four railway tracks in the median for interstate freight and high-speed passenger trains between Werribee and Kalkallo and capable of ultimately being a six-lane freeway standard road elsewhere.

http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/RoadProjects/PlanningAndProposals/Melbourne/OuterMetropolitanRingTransportCorridor.htm

We can clearly see that no serious attempt is made to REPLACE EXISTING car traffic and that the rail line has only the function to bring commuters from newly established suburbs (necessitated by a high immigration intake) to the Melbourne CBD.

Planned motorway running parallel to new rail line:

melbourne_west_outer_ring_freeway

http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/CA256F310024B628/0/6570032FEBC1A5E9CA25766B000A5DC1/$File/DMNSC_WestZoningMap.pdf

In fact, the term “Regional Rail” would suggest it is about upgrading rail lines serving regional, that is rural areas, to facilitate transport of agricultural produce, for example. But that is not the case.

Appendix: example of projects in NSW:

nation_building_program_nsw

Download the full article including project lists from other States  as PDF file: [download id="29"]

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