Thank you, Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT), for explaining the flawed process that delivered the massively overblown costs put forward by Don Page for reinstatement of rail.
No consideration of light rail. No discussion of the potential for a combined public transport/tourist service. Real benefits dismissed in a few words.
The potential to improve the woeful level of public transport across the region, relieve traffic congestion in Byron Bay and promote sustainable tourism and economy have been given up on.
Let’s look at some of the costs of the rail trail. Most obviously, a rail trail would be unable to use all sections of the existing track without significant adaption to ensure safety. There will need to be diversions built at cost around some geographical features. All this will need to be maintained annually. Far more maintenance than is carried out now will have to be paid for each year to ensure vegetation doesn’t take over. There will be no revenue from fares to offset these costs.
What benefits justify such costs? The number of people prepared to walk or ride a bike along a rail trail to work, school and services would be substantially less than fare-paying commuters on a train.
That leaves the supposed tourism bonanza. Rail trail proponents claim that there is a market of 750,000 adventure tourists that would use the trail.
Let’s be clear. Only a very small fraction of these visitors currently visit our shire. The rail trail will only work if there is an increase of several hundred thousand visitors to Byron Shire, adding substantial load to our overstretched roads and infrastructure. Ratepayers will have to pick up the costs.
Shame there isn’t a train to help relieve the impacts.
Cr Basil Cameron, Goonengerry