The pre-election promise is expected to link Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne
Over the years, politicians in Australia kept promising a high speed rail project, but did nothing to gain the public confidence.
This year also, officials were expected to announce a 1.750 km rail corridor that connects the south-east of the continent and be operational by the end of 2030.
According to the forecast, $20 million will be invested in feasibility studies, while the entire construction is estimated at $114 billion.
This time, the Australian government thought of another approach. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull explained for ABC radio that the rail line will significantly boost the value of surrounding land, therefore the project itself can be considered “a property deal”.
“This is increasingly what is being done again in the United States. In a sense it’s back to the future because people are really remembering that what good transport infrastructure does is transform the amenity and hence the value of real estate,” he commented.
Ed Blakely, Professor of Urban Policy at the University of Sydney, added that the value capture could actually finance land acquisition for the rail’s features and amenities and that by following the current plan, the project has “better than 50 per cent” chances of finally becoming true.
Nevertheless, members of the Labour opposition are no confident that the high speed rail will become a reality, as leader Bill Shorten declared: “This is a desperate Malcolm Turnbull clutching at straws. Talk is cheap, but it’s actions that really matter.”