By Andrew Bolt ~
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is now thinking about promising a high-speed rail line that will cost taxpayers next to nothing:
Malcolm Turnbull is preparing to take to the election a radical new funding approach for nation- building projects, including a plan to develop high-speed rail links on Australia’s east coast that will boost regional centres and ease congestion in capital cities…
The rail line to Badgerys Creek in western Sydney is the government’s first priority, but The Australian has learnt the Coalition wants this followed with links to regional centres such as Goulburn, as well as another link from Melbourne to Shepparton… These would be the first links of a longer-term very fast train network that would eventually run all the way from Melbourne to Brisbane.
To fund the multi-billion-dollar rail projects, including high-speed rail links and potentially the Melbourne Metro, the government will promote the use of “value capture” financing, which leverages the increase in land value resulting from new transport infrastructure to contribute to its cost.
In the lead-up to the May 3 budget, government officials are undertaking intensive policy work on the viability of using the financing model to pay for the high-speed rail network between Melbourne and Brisbane, a project that has been under consideration for more than 30 years and is estimated to cost between $60 billion and $114bn.
Government sources told The Australian the Coalition wanted the very fast train network to be built in stages by a private consortium that would be given access to a share of the potential uplift in land value resulting from the new infrastructure.
This would minimise the amount of taxpayer dollars needed…
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.