Link fig­ures ques­tioned

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

SEN­A­TORS have ques­tioned how State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments can claim the pro­posed $1.6 bil­lion truck Perth Freight Link saves $2.4 bil­lion in com­mer­cial travel time over 30 years, when 90 per cent of the cal­cu­la­tion in­volves pri­vate cars.

“If peo­ple are get­ting to work quicker, then it’s con­tribut­ing to ef­fi­ciency and prof­itabil­ity,” Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Roads gen­eral man­ager Roland Pit­tar said.

Mr Pit­tar was left to an­swer ques­tions af­ter the State Gov­ern­ment re­fused to at­tend the Ru­ral and Re­gional Af­fairs and Trans­port Ref­er­ences Com­mit­tee hear­ing in Fre­man­tle last week.

Greens Sen­a­tor Scott Lud­lum asked if the depart­ment and In­fra­struc­ture Aus­tralia’s busi­ness case and cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis for the link had con­sid­ered if the route, run­ning 13km from South Lake to 1km south of Stir­ling Bridge, strength­ened the State Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed sale of Fre­man­tle Port.

The busi­ness case’s sum­mary claims the link has a cost ben­e­fit ra­tio of about $2.80 for each dol­lar spent, com­pared to a $8.76 CBR claimed for a new con­tainer port at Kwinana planned by all gov­ern­ments for about 25 years.

Mr Pit­tar said analysing the link’s ef­fect on the port’s sale had not been un­der­taken us­ing an ini­tial plan that had the link on the sur­face, and the depart­ment now un­der­stood a trenched ver­sion of the route could be used.

He said in­ter­est in in­vest­ment and in­fra­struc­ture in­land would need to be demon­strated be­fore any new port could be an­a­lysed but Fre­man­tle Port had ca­pac­ity to ex­pand to nearly 1.4 mil­lion con­tain­ers an­nu­ally by 2022, when a new port could op­er­ate also us­ing the link.

Con­tainer trucks on Curtin Av­enue com­prise 11 per cent of Fre­man­tle Port’s con­tainer move­ments and Mr Pit­tar said GPS de­vices in the ve­hi­cles would en­force trucks us­ing the link, and reg­u­late driv­ers avoid­ing the link’s pro­posed 30c/km toll by tak­ing other routes.

Sen­a­tor Chris Back said truck com­pa­nies would want to see ben­e­fits and im­prove­ments be­fore any toll on Curtin Av­enue.

Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment’s Roland Pit­tar and John Benac.

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