While North America and Europe are ecstatic about the prospects of Hyperloop, there is a place that’s being left out: the land down under. Australia remains to be the only continent without high speed rail. But that may soon change.
A company called Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA) has unveiled a radical new plan to link Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney in a high-speed rail system. And has unveiled its radical funding source.
CLARA, a company based in Melbourne, has partnered with international companies to develop the proposal, and plans to do it without a cent of taxpayer money.
CLARA’s proposal suggests a rail network that will run at 430km/h. It’s expected to come with a $200 billion price tag, and will require $13 billion for the first phase of the project.
But this is no simple rail network proposal. The ambitious plan includes the construction of eight brand new island cities between the three capitals, with land deals already secured for the regional hubs that will set up close to existing towns.
So while the company expects no government funding for the project, it would still require direct support in planning and executing the building of these cities and making the rail network.
Up until now, any high-speed rail project in Australia has been scuttled by one look at the price tag. This new proposal, that requires no federal funding, has got the government intrigued.
It proposes to do this through “value capture”—the expected profits due to development of property. It relies on 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.” says the company.