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Australia's bullet train plan too costly: expert

08-04-2011 13:55 BJT

CANBERRA, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The price tag for Australian federal government's proposed high-speed bullet train is far higher than similar networks overseas, a transport expert said on Thursday.

Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese on Thursday released the first stage of a study into building an east coast high-speed train network. The study estimated the project will cost at between 65 billion and 115 billion U.S. dollars, and it would be taxpayer-funded.

Similar networks already exist in Europe and Asia, and Dr. Michelle Zeibots, from the University of Technology Sydney's Institute for Sustainable Futures, pointed out that Spain, which has the longest network in all of Europe, with more than 2,000 kilometers of rail, is estimated to have only spent about 64 billion U.S. dollars on its system.

The network in Spain plans to expand that network so that 90 percent of the country is within about 50 kilometers of a high- speed rail station, which would cost about 160 billion U.S. dollars.

In contrast, Dr. Zeibots said Australia's system would serve just a small portion of Australians living on the east coast.

She said the cost for Australian bullet trade projects is far too expensive, compared to those overseas.

"We need to question those costs and I don't think that those costs are in keeping with construction costs for projects of that kind overseas," she was quoted by the ABC News on Thursday.

"This is a problem that needs to be leveled at a lot of rail and big infrastructure projects that we're currently looking at in Australia.

"It's not just this bullet train but a lot of extensions to our existing heavy rail network in Sydney for example."

The study released on Thursday showed the proposed high-speed rail network could travel at speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour and the network could carry around 54 million passengers a year.

The network could link Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra by 2036.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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