A bit of bias towards road improvement here by the RAA.
City tram line plan is 'crazy'
THE $21 million plan to extend the Glenelg tramline down King William St to the North Tce railway station has been blasted as "crazy" by the RAA.
The state's peak motorists' body has questioned the planning processes used to approve the controversial extension.
The RAA will receive a private briefing on the cost-benefit analysis of the extension on Friday Ã¢â‚¬â€œ three weeks after Parliament passed legislation approving the plan.
RAA managing director John Fotheringham said information provided to date raised grave questions about how the Government decides to spend public money.
"I am assured by Treasury that every project in this state is subject to a rigorous economic analysis, but there has never been any proper economic analysis put forward," Mr Fotheringham said.
"It seems someone thought it was a good idea and now it is policy.
"The existing tram carries 5000 to 6000 people a day and we are spending $21 million to extend it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but it won't increase patronage to any great degree. We are spending $20 million-plus on a tram that will carry the same number of passengers.
"To head up King William St, then turn left down North Tce to go just 200m to the railway station is absolutely crazy.
"We want an economic analysis released. We want proof there will be more passengers and that the strategic plan will pay off Ã¢â‚¬â€œ right now, we don't believe it will."
A spokesman for Transport Minister Patrick Conlon said a full feasibility study, including cost-benefit analysis, had been presented to Parliament's Public Works Committee last week.
"Not only has a proper analysis been done, it has been presented to the committee overseeing capital works," he said.
The Government estimates the environmental, transport and safety benefits of the extension are worth almost double the cost.
RAA officials will meet the tram project manager on Friday, armed with a series of questions they want clarified about the economic, social and infrastructure benefits of the plan.
Construction work will start in May, re-routing the tram around Victoria Square, down King William St with stops at the Town Hall and Rundle Mall, then left down North Tce to the railway station.
The new section will be free to ride and will replace the existing free Beeline bus service.
Mr Fotheringham further questioned the state's overall public transport strategy, noting budget figures indicate the plan to double public transport patronage by 2018 would be matched by a simple doubling of spending.
"The Government has been coy about how much they plan to spend to achieve the doubling of public transport patronage," he said.
"If we are just going to do it by doubling the cost, then we have a real problem. The tram plan won't go any way whatsoever towards what the State strategic plan wants to achieve.
"I question whether it is a viable deal."
Mr Fotheringham noted the state had a range of other transport priorities, from upgrades of South Rd and the Victor Harbor Rd through to the Britannia roundabout and a general state road maintenance program.
"Traffic on the Victor Harbor road will double in the next 15 years, so we have to start looking at major improvements," he said.