Monday, October 17, 2016

Map of polling booth results showing light rail is a vote winner

This simple graphic indicates that light rail is a vote winner. Look at the percentage of the ALP primary vote by polling booth on this map with primary vote numbers from booths overlaid on to a map of Canberra. The proximity of a booth to the light rail route correlates to a 10-15% primary vote gain.

How will the data on this map change when in the 2020 Assembly election light rail from Gungahlin to Civic is operational and Woden route construction may be underway? Only more positively for the parties that support light rail.

  • Coloured circles are Assembly polling place results 
  • Black line is proposed light rail route

Image from Australian Rail Maps Twitter page with data from #actvotes

For more frequent updates on Canberra Metro and Canberra light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Canberra supports light rail future with re-elected Barr government

Thank you to all supporters of light rail and improved public transport in Canberra. Your votes have secured a very different Canberra that will be able to grow without gridlock and increased road congestion. It will be  able to offer  a scalable public transport system that can grow as our population and urban form grows. It was not the only issue that the election was decided upon, but it was a major one.

If there are political lessons to be learnt they are firstly that the Canberra public want our city to grow and avoid the transport problems that other car dominated capitals have. We are on that cusp, and have decided to go another way. The second and bigger lesson is that we are not fools and negative political campaigning just doesn't work. We will support and vote for a positive achievable vision.

It has been a hard slog for all, but at last the four year election campaign has been decided. It has been a definitive rout of regressive negative politics. The Canberra of the future will have an integrated public transport system with light rail at its backbone, and more frequent local bus services.
  • Stage One from Gungahlin to Civic will be built and commence service by 2019. 
  • Stage Two from Civic to Woden will have a series of studies prepared, culminating with a business case that may recommend construction. 
  • An expanded rapid bus service will be extended to several group centres
  • Proper planning for further light rail stages can continue 
  • A compact liveable city with Transit Oriented Development and more density, will emerge around transit corridors
These positive planning and transport policies can now occur with certainty as the Barr government has been returned with a likely coalition government with the Greens to be formed, once firm Assembly numbers are known. The polling booths closed at 6PM on October 15th and by 10PM the Chief Minister had announced the ALP were in a position to form Government, and opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson had conceded defeat.

That the positive election result was known so quickly, demonstrates confidence in the Governments plans. It was a resounding 'yes' for light rail.

For four years the Canberra Liberals had fought a relentlessly negative and dishonest campaign with false claims about costs and spending. These false and deceptive claims continued to the day of the election and it was a refreshing sign of a healthy democracy that the people of Canberra looked beyond the smear  campaign and neglectful and lazy journalistic coverage from the Canberra Times, to form a view that resoundingly supports a light rail future.

However, the negative campaign is now history. The light rail debate has been resolved and it will be built. Stage One will be the first of five planned stages that will reshape our city and lead to better land use, higher standards of living, less road congestion and a more compact livable city. 

The overwhelming endorsement of public transport at this election should be taken to heart by the Canberra Liberals. They should be proactive in creating light rail and public transport policy, and they should be cooperative and not obstructionist as further light rail stages, especially the Woden route, are planned and constructed.

Supporters of light rail in the community, including the 1300 strong members of ACT Light Rail, always knew the public supported better public transport. Now its future is secure.
Canberra Times coverage
Election win shows comprehensive support for light rail
Labor confident of win - expected to form government with Greens
Triumph for Labor - wakeup call for Liberals 
Disappointing Hanson admits defeat at ACT election
Back to the drawing board for all sides
Labor victory a rejection of narrow minded fundamental conservatism

ABC Online coverage
Light rail in balance as Canberra heads to the polls
Labor claims victory, says Canberra voted for light rail
Feeling of exasperation as Canberra Liberals fall short
Where to now for Liberal leadership?

Television coverage of the election result

ABC TV news Canberra carried this report on Sunday 16 October 2016:
Part One
Part Two

WIN TV News Canberra carried this report on Monday 17 October 2016:

A few radio interviews were quite informative:

ABC radio carried this interview on Monday 17 October with Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury about what happens next

Duration: 7min 20sec Broadcast: Mon 17 Oct 2016, 5:30am

"The ACT Election finished on Saturday night but the final preference counting will continue for most of this week.
What will the larger Legislative Assembly chamber mean? How about negotiations for a new Labor-Greens Government?
Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury talk to 666 ABC Canberra breakfast host Philip Clark about what happens next."

Originally on this ABC webpage

ABC radio carried this interview with Liberal MLA Alistair Coe after the election.

Duration: 11min 57sec Broadcast: Mon 17 Oct 2016, 3:00pm

"After appearing to be within reach of Government for the first time in 15 years the Canberra Liberals lost the election by an increased margin compared to 2012, and it's raised questions over the position of leader Jeremy Hanson.
Mr Coe explained the ground campaign of Labor and the complexity of the light rail issue could have been contributing factors to the Liberals' loss.
He also told Adam Shirley on 666 ABC Canberra that he did not see Mr Hanson's statement that he argued against light rail "exceptionally well, but perhaps not well enough" as a criticism."

Originally on this ABC webpage.

For more frequent updates on Canberra Metro and Canberra light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Canberra Liberals bus only alternative to light rail exposed as a lie - by themselves!

One of the leased buses expected if Canberra Liberals are elected

Since 2012 the Canberra Liberals have been promising to kill light rail. They claim we don't need it, They claim that they would release a policy that would be better than light rail. They did, several months ago - and there were many questions about it. Could it be implemented? How much would it cost? Would it bring about any of the benefits that lightrail would? Would it be Bus Rapid Transit or just bus lanes?
Today TWO DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION the Liberals provided their costings to ACT Treasury. It is in the detail that they expose their policy as really, just a flimsy three page description of well, not much really. Certainly not a realistic alternative to light rail.

Remember that this is the policy that they claim is better than light rail. 

This is what it doesn't have:
  • No mention of a new bus depot
  • The "eight new rapid routes" only include assumptions of leased buses and operating costs
  • No new buses  
  • No bus stop / road improvements
  • No new bus lanes
  • No intersection / traffic signal upgrade
  • No bus Interchange expansion (which would be vital)
  • No mention of ancillary equipment - such as additional NXTBUS modules and MyWay equipment
  • No staff increases
  • No opportunity for Transit Oriented Development
  • No opportunity for Canberra based construction jobs
By leasing buses one could assume that this is a cost saver, but in fact it isn't. To lease a bus at $5500 per month - not including inflation - works out at $1.3m for 20 years compared to $800000 to buy one outright. 
What a flimsy unimplementable policy. Appalling. This is what they offer as an alternative t light rail?
This Saturday the two choices are:
  • A costed and funded light rail from Gungahlin to Civic (and then to Woden) 
  • An unimplementable bus only plan that cannot match the transport objectives promised.
There is no choice - Vote for Light Rail.  

Update: Friday 14 October
As of Friday morning (the day before polling day) Labor wound up with one policy uncosted (deemed withdrawn due to lack of time constraints) which was the not-insignificant upgrade of the Centenary Hospital.

The Liberals wound up with 4 deemed withdra
wn due to time constraints. And they're pretty substantial ones:

  • The Zero percent lease variation charge
  • The cost of new 'Rapid' bus routes. They quoted $40m, and in my opinion, from the look of the document there seem to be a few items not factored into that number.
  • The $35m flyover proposal for the Barton Highway.
  • The widening of roads between Gungahlin and Civic (part of their no-light rail platform) which they costed at $58m 
The Greens, for what it's worth, had all their policies costed by Treasury.

For more frequent updates on Canberra Metro and Canberra light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'.