Full Speed Ahead
A high speed rail network may be coming, and it will connect three major cities, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney– another reason to have a ” g’day down under” in Australia.
Private company Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) Pty Ltd released a video for people to visualize its plan to “re-balance the Australian settlement”, build “new, regionally compact, sustainable smart cities, and to connect them by the world’s most advanced high speed rail.” It even showed some footage that suggests trains will be travelling at speeds of up to 430km/h, speeds that just fast enough to put it in competition with Japan’s invisible train.
Now, as great as all that sounds, you haven’t heard the best part: the high speed rail project would not require any government funding.
The project will get its funding from profits made from the transformation of existing farming land into new developments that would benefit from the new infrastructure and increase in value.
CLARA’s pre-feasibility business model has the city sites and rail infrastructure being privately funded through the use of land value capture. Unlike other proposals for high speed rail in the past, CLARA’s infrastructure can be paid for from the city development rather than from government coffers.
The company’s chairman Nick Cleary says the profit margin to developers to fund the high speed rail system would mostly fund the project, estimating land bought for $1000 a lot could be sold for up to $150,000 once housing and civil infrastructure is built.
He says the project is a decentralization program, where the new cities and the high speed rail network would be interdependent, making each other viable.
CLARA says if it receives support from three levels of government, construction could begin within five years. Phase one of the development will involve a $13 billion high speed rail into northern Victoria and the development of two new partner cities in the region over 30 years.
Well, let’s hope to the proper fruition of such a bold plan.