Sharing a fresh look at Faster Rail with Government

08 July 2020

Faster Rail in Australia can provide more substantial community benefits than currently recognised, but success requires an integrated approach to planning, design and delivery, and a ‘cocktail’ of funding, Arup told a Federal Government inquiry this week.

Arup argued that major rail projects should be viewed as profoundly city and region-shaping, delivering broader outcomes which support sustainable communities, improve health and encourage economic regeneration.

Faster Rail should also be factored into the new conversation about the interplay between where people live and work and their connection to CBDs, which has been triggered by the covid-19 pandemic and increasing digital capacity

“In this context, funding and finance options for Faster Rail must be considered as part of the vision and strategy for Australia’s future and not in isolation,” Dr Tim Williams, Arup Australasia’s Cities Leader, told the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities.

“We think it is important that the right appraisal framework is used in assessing the full region/city-shaping impact of Faster Rail: one that values the impact on ‘place’ and not just ‘movement’ and the transformational impact on centres and communities as opposed to the narrow benefits of mode users.”

“It is important that Government recognise that Faster Rail is more than a rail project: it is a place-making project that will shape the future of our country. ” - Tim Williams Australasia Cities Leader

Dr Williams, Justin Madden (Vic/SA Cities Leader) and Peter Dunn (Senior Transport Planner) presented to the Committee, chaired by John Alexander MP, which is inquiring into options for financing Faster Rail. Arup provided a detailed written submission which drew on  its deep involvement in transformative initiatives, notably the Channel Tunnel Rail Link via Stratford into Kings Cross in London.

“Planning for and leveraging this investment fully, requires governance innovation and greatly enhanced coordination across government and between Federal and state governments and local councils. Fundamentally it requires that the proposed strategic rail investment be positioned as part of a broader business plan for the development of the corridor in which it is located,” the Arup submission said.

“To fully realise the benefits, the approach needs to consider the strategy, benefits, funding and stakeholders together. ” - Justin Madden  Vic / SA Cities Leader

Current economic circumstances require innovation in configuring the variety of funding and financing mechanisms. Regarding value capture, Dr Williams said that if the public sector takes risk and provides the funding, it should share in the value created: there should be a far better balance between the return to the public purse and the speculator.

The submission described Faster Rail as a catalyst for transformation and development at the scale of a mega-region of networked cities and towns, with multiple potential beneficiaries.




Source:  Arup -

Date of Original:  30 June 2020

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