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Sydney light rail cost blows out to at least $2.7b after settlement

The cost of the Sydney light rail ‘public-private partnership’ has blown out past $3 billion. “The cost to the government of paying the private consortium to operate the line for 15 years had previously been put at almost $938 million. It is separate to the capital cost—now at least $2.7 billion—of building the line and buying the trams that will run on it. Labor's acting leader, Penny Sharpe, said taxpayers and businesses affected by construction of the line were paying the price of a disastrous project now costing upwards of $3 billion.” Calls for an investigation were prompted in January when it blew past $2 billion.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

JR Hokkaido confronts the harsh realities of financing rail lines in depopulated areas | The Japan Times

Problems with JR Hokkaido are raising questions about the wisdom of railway privatisation in 1987. “JR Hokkaido has become the most embattled of the former JNR entities, and one can sense in media coverage of its existential problems a conflict over whether privatization is still a good thing for a service that was once taken for granted despite its chronic tendency to lose money.”

Source: The Japan Times

Labor considers an inquiry into $10b Melbourne to Brisbane inland railway

NSW Labor leader Michael Daley says a future Labor government will conduct an inquiry into the $10 billion Melbourne to Brisbane inland railway which could result in an overhaul of the landmark project. The Australian Financial Review reports that “while Labor is unlikely to scrap the $9.3 billion equity investment in ARTC, a review or inquiry into the planning process is likely to be announced. Another potential headache for the Morrison government is the Queensland government has yet to sign up to the intergovernmental agreement for the inland rail project. NSW and Victoria are already on board. The $10 billion project stops at the Queensland border. It is dependent on a complex 126-kilometre section tunneling through Toowoomba Ranges to Acacia Ridge in Brisbane's west which will be put to the market as a public-private partnership.”

Source: Australian Financial Review