16 July 2017

Submission to the Senate Economics References Committee inquiry into the operations of existing and proposed toll roads in Australia

Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel toll road is too expensive, the risks of a cost blow-out have been understated, and the project has been characterised by undue secrecy. In this submission to a Senate committee inquiry into toll roads, Grattan Institute’s Transport Program Director Marion Terrill exposes the extent of the problems and recommends ways to ensure taxpayers get a better bang for their transport project buck.

3 July 2017

Stuck in traffic: busting Melbourne versus Sydney myths and identifying the worst commutes

Crawling along in low gear, Melbourne drivers often comfort themselves with the thought that at least they’re not in Sydney, where “everyone knows” traffic delays are longer and even more frustrating. Sorry, Melburnians, but you’re kidding yourselves.

30 June 2017

How Australia can get a better bang for its transport infrastructure buck – Submission to the Productivity Commission

Australia does not get the best results from its transport infrastructure spending, because the way the Commonwealth makes grants to the states creates perverse incentives and causes unintended consequences. In this submission to the Productivity Commission, Grattan Transport Program Director Marion Terrill exposes the problems and proposes a solution.

1 June 2017

Fancy government financing could still cost the taxpayer

No sooner is one complicated financing idea from the government batted down, than another one pops up. We can expect more of them, now that the federal budget has established a new Infrastructure and Project Financing Agency.

9 May 2017

Budget’s ‘good debt’ conversion underpins $70b-plus infrastructure program: experts respond

There’s more than a touch of back to the future about this budget: we’ve got so-called nation-building projects and the usual cries of “What about me?” from various state premiers. But in the current world of “good debt” and “bad debt”, the infrastructure choices of Budget 2017 look more defensible than usual.

20 March 2017

Bush may not like it but our cities must come first

Each day seems to bring a new advocate for more spending in our regions. The idea seems to be to stop the “unhealthy” growth of our capital cities and prevent a US-style geographic divide between the haves in the big smoke and the have-nots in the bush. But plucking infrastructure projects off some wish list is a reckless use of public money

20 March 2017

Value capture: a good idea to fund infrastructure but not easy in practice

Is “value capture” a wonderful untapped opportunity to fulfill all our infrastructure dreams? Or is it just a new way to sting the taxpayer? Our new report casts a cold, hard gaze over value capture, and finds that it’s a good tax in theory, but will prove very hard to put into practice.

13 March 2017

Getting infrastructure right, one project at a time

Until Australia gets a lot better at assessing and selecting which projects to back, there is high chance that much of the new spending will be misdirected or wasted. Politicians should not be able to commit public money to infrastructure until a rigorous independent evaluation has been tabled in the Parliament.

21 February 2017

WestConnex audit offers another $17b lesson in how not to fund infrastructure

The way we throw money at major transport projects almost guarantees billions of Australian taxpayers’ dollars are wasted. The A$16.8 billion investment in Sydney’s WestConnex motorway joins the long list of big, bungled transport investment decisions by Australian governments, both federal and state.

20 December 2016

MYEFO was just another example of politicians playing favourites on infrastructure

The latest Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook further entrenches the Commonwealth’s habit of playing favourites with the states when it comes to infrastructure spending.