The success of constructing and maintaining a road, a highway, a hospital or a school (the list goes on) is not measured by the direct return of the money spent. Those are not-for-profit businesses, whose only goal is direct monetary return on investment.
They are firstly judged by their overall benefits, which they contribute to the region they are in, be it indirectly adding to the financial wealth of the region (creating jobs, attracting people who spend money which they otherwise would not).
Even for profit businesses make strategic decisions, which does not benefit them directly in the short term, but pays in other ways.
Secondly such investments in the region will be judged by the social, environmental and other benefits they create, the quality of life they enhance in the long term.
This is the yardstick by which rail has to be measured. Around the world regional railways, and for that matter city rails, are not run to make direct profits, but they bring substantial benefits to the region or the city.
We need and deserve good governance, which is open and transparent, something missing in the rail and trail debate to date.
Jens Krause, Byron Bay