Gold Coast shows potential light rail benefits for Perth

Mr Mumford last week commended the Queensland Government on its foresight to invest in the 16-station, 13km light rail project as WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder said he was still considering the capital cost of Perth�s MAX Light Rail project.

The $1.2 billion Gold Coast project was funded through a public private partnership, with GoldLinkQ consortium raising initial capital ahead of local, State and Federal Government investment.

Mr Mumford said the GoldLinkQ, completed in mid 2014, had carried more than 6.5 million passengers to date, averaging more than 18,000 trips per day.

�There�s a certainty that comes with rail infrastructure that isn�t there with some other forms of public transport and the development and business community is responding,� he said.

Mr Nalder said the Gold Coast light rail had affected property values and noise was a concern for local residents but MAX Light Rail was still on the table for Perth�s northern suburbs.

�There have been a few misconceptions around what light rail will provide for their community, when really its about mass transit of people from Mirrabooka and looking at how we can do that in the most efficient and effective manor possible,� he said.

�One of the challenges is around the capital cost for the capacity of light rail and being able to insure that if you�re going to spend that amount of capital that you�re going to get the benefit out of it.�

Mr Nalder said he had questioned some of the assumptions that were made in determining that light rail was the appropriate solution and considering a cheaper bus alternative.

Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute research fellow Jemma Green said a bus system would not encourage development, while the extra cost for light rail would be offset by an increase to land value.

�Light rail is superior as it catalyses land development around the lines and stops,� Ms Green said.

�Buses are about as attractive to build around as a truck way, they do not catalyse land development.�

Mr Mumford said there had been initial concerns about the impact construction of the light rail would have on a narrow, dense corridor of the Gold Coast, which had since been allayed.

�As recently as last week business leaders were reporting the success of the light rail which indicated a 15 per cent increase in visitation into the tourist precincts, and a significant investment in development along the light rail corridor,� he said