Sweeping changes to the development and funding of Australia’s land transportation infrastructure are being made to boost the country’s economic future and ability to take advantage of globalization.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport John Anderson said that if Australia does not act now, the country faces a future in which the land transport network would increasingly limit economic prospects, reported The Age.
He predicted that the growth in passenger and freight traffic would double the cost of urban congestion and cause more accidents, reported the paper. The number of heavy vehicles on the roads would increase, causing substantial increases in emissions.
The key elements of AusLink, the name of the overhaul plan, are:
The federal government will sponsor a rolling five- to 10-year transport infrastructure development plan that would seek project bids. Private-sector proposals will be given equal treatment with all other bids.
The separate treatment of road, rail and intermodal investments will be abolished. The government will allocate money to the projects that have the greatest benefit, regardless of the mode, resulting in less road traffic and a safer rail network.
There will be no reduction in the Commonwealth’s transport spending and funding in regional Australia will be quarantined. It won’t affect existing projects funded or undertaken by the government.