AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Industry targeting private funding for Perth light rail

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Rail infrastructure interest group Rail Track Association Australia (RTAA) will put on an information day in Perth, with the hopes of promoting the city’s proposed $1.9bn light rail project to potential private sector investors. </span> <p>Rail Express spoke with RTAA vice president, Garry Thuer, who said the Liberal party’s victory at the federal election on September 7 would increase the need for significant input from the private sector if Perth’s Metro Area Express (MAX) light rail project is to go ahead.</p><p>“With the new federal government, it looks like there seems to be a focus on roads rather than rail in the future,” Thuer said.</p><p>“From an overall rail industry perspective, it’s obviously sad,” he added.</p><p>Prior to the election, Tony Abbott said a Liberal government would not fund urban rail projects, and would instead put federal infrastructure funding into urban roads.</p><p>Abbott’s victory at the polling booths therefore puts urban rail projects – like MAX – into a tight spot, funding-wise.</p><p>It’s part of the reason the RTAA is putting on the information day, which will be held on the evening of Thursday, September 26.</p><p>Thuer is hopeful that the funding needed for the MAX project will still be found, either from an increased contribution from the state government, a large contribution from the private sector, or a bit of both.</p><p>He says the WA government could adjust its budget accordingly, to fund rail projects more heavily, and allow the federal government to take care of roads.</p><p>“If the federal government is focused on roads, then [the WA government] should have more money left for rail,” he told Rail Express.</p><p>Otherwise, Thuer believes a public private partnership (PPP) could be the way to go.</p><p>One of the most recent light rail developments to get off the ground, Gold Coast Light Rail, was achieved through a PPP.</p><p>“The more government contribution there is, the easier it is to get a project like [MAX] up and running,” Thuer said.</p><p>“[But] there is some precedent for a light rail PPP.”</p><p>It is that precedent that Thuer, and the rest of the RTAA, will be looking to build upon at the MAX Information Session on September 26.</p><p>The keynote speaker at the event, which is being held at the Rydges Hotel in Perth, is Dave Thomas, MAX’s project director.</p><p>Construction of the MAX is hoped to commence in 2016.</p><p style="margin-left: 40px"><br />WHAT: MAX Information Session</p><p style="margin-left: 40px">WHERE: Rydges Hotel, 815 Hay Street, Perth</p><p style="margin-left: 40px">WHEN: 5PM-7:30PM, Thursday September 26, 2013</p><p style="margin-left: 40px">CONTACT/RSVP:</p><p style="margin-left: 40px">Sandra Bull, RTAA Secretary: <a href=""></a></p>