In The International News

Some interesting news items from abroad.


An interesting Australia Government paper on long term trends in public transport.

Some interesting comments have been made by an Australian observer:

It can be clearly seen that the Sydney tramways were the all-time record-holding giant of any Australian public transport system
and never bettered since by any mode, including heavy rail. This explains why their techniques were so polished and way ahead of Melbourne’s – they had to be in order to do the job.

Note that the SE lines in Sydney were carrying 45 million ppa in 1960 just before the end. The initial projection for CSELR is 30 million, twice as many as Melbourne’s busiest, the 109. It’ll be a big one again if they can do it properly.

Meanwhile back in Los Angeles, The “Forbes” magazine site has posted an op-ed commentary that poses the question of whether LOS ANGELES can solve its well-publicized traffic congestion woes by building more roads.

Anyone who has visited Los Angeles doesnai??i??t need statistics to confirm its traffic problems, but here they are anyway. Americaai??i??s 2nd-largest metro area suffers the most congestion overall, theAi??7th-longestAi??commute times, and theAi??2nd most hours spent in traffic per resident. The reason for this has been because of the cityai??i??s sprawling yet semi-dense built pattern, which forces people to drive. The solution proposed by urban planners has been to build more mass transit, so driving is no longer the only option. But a new Reason Foundation study argues that road expansion is the most cost-effective solution for congestion, thus countering the long-standing dogma…………..

Back in Australia a new toll road in Brisbane was sold for $2.8 billion (AUD) less for what it cost to construct. This should give some food for thought for those advocating a $3.5 billion mega toll bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel.

What is interesting is that is seems the same players behind the failed tollway are involved with the Massey Bridge project! Zwei thinks that Premier Christy Clark and her cabinet are playing with sharks and like LNG, are about to get eaten alive!

Brisconnections’ unhappy history

The deal rules off a very unhappy history for the Brisconnections consortium and its backers.

The consortium – put together by investment bank Macquarie Group and contractors Thiess and John Holland – won the right to build the tollway in 2008.

The heavy reliance on debt, financial engineering and use of equity from private – so-called “mums and investors” – led to one of the most controversial and calamitous floats in local market history.

On the first day of trading, the first $1 per share instalment in the $1.2 billion float lost 60 per cent of its value.

Within months, instalments were trading at 0.1 cents per share, the lowest possible price on the ASX.

Even before the price collapsed large institutional investors, who were becoming increasingly anxious about the GFC, bailed out, well aware of the damaging effects of debt and leverage in the financial environment.

The share price plummeted.

At the same time retail investors soaked up shares at what appeared to be a bargain price.

They were also often unaware that there was an obligation to buy two more $1 per share instalments down the track.

In 2009, more than 70 per cent of shares defaulted on the second instalment payment, prompting Brisconnections to sue and leaving many small investors facing financial ruin………….

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