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$600M for 12km is very cheap when it comes to these types of Ozzie Boondoggles so expect plenty of announcements that the public purse has a large piece of tram track jamming it open.
That 11km section of new rail in South Western Sydney came in at $2B and it was mostly over cow paddocks – except for a tunnel under the freeway and a flyover at Glenfield.
There was lots of hand clapping and back slapping at the fact they brought in $100M less than last estimates.
As I have noted on previously threads on this subject a better start is:
1. Create a bus only lane with preferential lights at intersections.
2. Greatly reduce land use restrictions for the entire route for approx a 10 minute walk either side (say 1.5 – 2 km) to allow mixed use up to say 7 storeys – more if there is demand for it.
And see how it goes – they can always convert the bus lane into a light rail or a heavy rail subway if required.
Oh – and make all new apartments and townhouses along the route and likely to benefit from the project subject to a LVT to ensure the rise in property values due to the speedy bus service generates revenue that can be salted away for the eventual upgrade to a heavy rail subway.