Commonwealth and Queensland Governments working together on M1 upgrades
Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, and Queensland Minister for Main Roads, Mark Bailey, were meeting in Brisbane today to discuss progress on the M1 upgrades, following an initial meeting in Sydney in September.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads will commence an expression of interest process for the design and construction of the upgrade of the Pacific Motorway M1/M3/Gateway Merge at Eight Mile Plains.
Preparations will also now begin to engage a design consultant for the Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes project. This work will offer a clear idea of firm market-based construction costs.
If these costings turn out to be lower than estimates in the business case – something which is currently quite common due to highly competitive conditions in the construction sector – that would make the collective task of funding the upgrades a little easier.
The Commonwealth Government will ‘frontload’ its funding commitment to fully fund the procurement process for the Gateway Merge project. This funding will also progress the significant pre-construction works required for the Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes upgrade.
While both governments have reserved their position on the funding split, discussions around delivery of the two upgrades will progress based on the outcomes of each procurement process.
The Gateway Merge will tackle one of the state’s most problematic bottlenecks — more than 148,000 vehicles travel through this congested section each day, including 12,000 heavy vehicles.
The upgrade will include a new four-lane bridge over the Pacific Motorway and the realignment of Underwood Road between Logan Road and School Road.
The five-kilometre widening between Mudgeeraba and Varsity Lakes will modernise the motorway to reduce the number and severity of motor vehicle incidents, help freight businesses operate more efficiently and above all cut travel times for commuters.
Today’s announcement is a positive step towards both governments’ goal of addressing road congestion on the M1.
Four projects move up the Infrastructure Priority List
Four projects have been prioritised on the latest National Infrastructure Priority List following assessment by Infrastructure Australia (IA).
The IA Board has categorised the $1 billion M80 Ring Road Upgrade in Melbourne as a high-priority project, and given ‘priority’ status to:
- the Perth–Forrestfield Airport Rail Link (Western Australia);
- the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal (New South Wales); and
- the Adelaide–Tarcoola Rail Upgrade (South Australia).
Work on the Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway section of the M80 Ring Road Upgrade in Melbourne got underway earlier this month. The Federal and Victorian governments are each contributing $150 million to this section of the upgrade. The Federal Government has committed a further $350 million to the $700 million total estimated cost of completing the remaining three sections. This funding is conditional on the Victorian Government agreeing to provide a matching contribution.
The 2016–17 Federal Budget also included $490 million towards the Forrestfield Airport Link, as well as funding for the Moorebank Intermodal Company to progress the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal.
The Government has also committed funds to Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to fast-track the Adelaide–Tarcoola Rail Upgrade.
View the latest update of the National Infrastructure Priority List here.
SA investment a boost to CAV research
The South Australian Government is investing $10 million to boost testing, research and development of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.
SA Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Stephen Mullighan, launched the initiative at the 23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Melbourne last week.
The Government says it will invite companies, industry bodies, research institutions and other organisations to submit creative proposals that will accelerate the development and implementation of connected and autonomous vehicle technology, focusing on three themes:
- Autonomous vehicle testing and demonstrations
- Propose testing of vehicles and technologies in both off-road laboratory conditions and real world environment in general mixed traffic conditions.
- Connected vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure pilots and demonstrations
- Propose pilots and demonstrations for next-generation technology in infrastructure and in vehicles.
Research and Development
- Propose projects that enable and accelerate the development and deployment of autonomous and connected vehicles.
Grant applications will open on 14 November for the fund, which is worth $10 million over three years.
Value capture could help fund major projects, says Infrastructure Victoria
Infrastructure Victoria has released a research paper exploring how value capture – such as imposing a levy on windfall gains made by property owners near a new train station – could help fund infrastructure in Victoria.
In the policy paper, Infrastructure Victoria examines the challenges and opportunities of implementing value capture in Victoria, and advises the Victorian Government on a way forward for applying value capture to Victorian projects.
Chief Executive Michel Masson said Infrastructure Victoria’s findings show value capture could help generate more funds to deliver major projects in Victoria.
“Value capture is not a silver bullet, but we think it can play a bigger role in helping to fund the infrastructure we will need in the future," he said last week.
“While it is unlikely to entirely fund a major project in Victoria, it can make a contribution to its cost.
“Rather than expecting all taxpayers to cover the full cost of new infrastructure such as a train station, we see an opportunity for property owners and businesses that stand to benefit financially from a project to make a contribution to that project being built.
“We also think individuals and businesses who receive significant financial benefits from planning decisions made by government should also contribute to providing infrastructure the community needs.”
The paper discusses how value capture is currently used in Victoria for major projects, and identifies opportunities to expand its use by assessing whether it can apply to projects on a case-by-case basis.
“We think it is important the community understands the type of value capture mechanism that could be used, their benefits and limitations,” Mr Masson said.
The paper looks at several value capture mechanisms including developer contributions, betterment levies, major beneficiary contributions and property development, asset sales or leases.
Value capture is modelled on six infrastructure project scenarios to illustrate how they could be applied to different sectors such as transport, health, housing and education.
To read the policy paper and supporting documentation or provide feedback on value capture, visit the Infrastructure Victoria website.
Meantime, consultation on the draft 30-year draft infrastructure strategy for Victoria closes on October 31.
NTC releases possible new scenarios for Australia’s transport future
How Australia’s transport system might work in the lead up to the year 2040 is shown in a series of snapshots which reveal the transformational impact of factors like automated vehicles, better real-time data and analytics, more riding sharing and changes in consumer preferences.
These scenarios are explored in new papers which are part of the National Transport Commission’s Land Transport Regulation 2040 work.
The papers were released to coincide with the ITS World Congress being held in Melbourne last week, and paint four different but plausible scenarios of what the transformational changes might mean in practice.
Chief Executive of the NTC, Paul Retter, said because Australia was set to see the biggest change in transport since cars replaced horses, both industry and government organisations should increasingly prepare for uncertainty and look for new ways to encourage innovation.
“These four scenarios are not predictions of the future, but they help industry, governments and the community examine the implications of changes in automation, data sharing, shared mobility and consumer demand,” Mr Retter said.
“Different sectors of the economy and the regulations that guide them go through long periods of stability followed by short periods of significant change.
“This work will help stakeholders start developing responses to the opportunities and challenges Australia’s transport system is likely to face in the future.
“For us this work will help us develop reform projects to make sure we have the right kinds of transport laws at each stage of this period of transformational change.”
In addition to the scenarios the papers also set out a number of questions that governments will need to answer as transport systems are transformed:
- Should governments regulate ahead of the adoption curve?
- Could or should governments transition all transport laws to a safety management system approach? and,
- Does the way our regulations are structured impact on new products and services?
Mr Retter said the Land Transport Regulation 2040 work was consistent with the increasing move to more strategic and bolder reform role recommended in the NTC review released last year. A copy of the papers is available at the NTC website.