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Australian 2011 budget allocation road/rail will not mitigate oil crunch

In general terms, the allocation in the Federal Budget 2011 for road and rail is NOT a portfolio of projects which will increase the economy’s productivity in the use of oil which is essential to offset declining local oil production and declining global oil exports.

Around 5 billion dollars are wasted on highway duplication projects. This is just a round figure without going into the details or merits of each individual project. Whenever reference is made in the project description that road safety on highways would be increased (but NOT blanket duplication) , expenditure is included under “Other roads” in the table below.

Albury_Rail_LineBelieve it or not: this is the MAIN rail line between Sydney and Melbourne north of Albury. Single tracked, not electrified. How will Australia survive the evolving oil crisis in the next 10 years? Why are rail projects not getting priority?  (to the left is the duplicated Hume highway)

Albury_rail_Hiume_highwayDuplicated Hume highway along single tracked rail line Sydney – Melbourne (centre)

All data are from the Transport Minister’s website

http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/aa/releases/2011/May/index.htm

Budget_2011_Road_Rail_Table

The national ratio of highway to rail spending is 1.7, varying from 5.3 in Victoria, 2.4 in NSW to 0.7 in South Australia. The total ratio of road to rail spending is 2.4. These ratios indicate that  this is NOT a portfolio of projects which will increase the economy’s productivity in the use of oil which is essential to offset declining local oil production and declining global oil exports.

It is unknown why this ratio of expenditure is biased towards highways, but possible reasons could include:

  • Lack of understanding peak oil and its consequences for the transport sector
  • State and Federal bureaucracies not being able to design rail projects
  • Consultants and Construction industry not geared and/or equipped to do rail projects
  • MPs in all Parliaments not trained in doing energy efficiency calculations

wallpaper_xpl_640Concluding note to all Federal MPs and Senators for their travel arrangements between Sydney and Canberra: if there is a big bang in the Middle East, there will be petrol, diesel and jet fuel shortages within weeks and you will have to squeeze into buses and/or 3 daily rail services with just 3 cars each. It will take years just to order additional rolling stock and get it delivered. And when the global crunch arrives, all rail car manufacturing capacities will be booked out for a long time.

HAPPY MOTORING AND GOOD LUCK FOR YOUR RAIL TRAVEL IN YEAR  X.