What Brisbane Metro will mean for CBD businesses
From what can be gathered from the key findings of the Brisbane Metro business case, all signs indicate that the project will have substantial benefit to residents and businesses.
Peak hour congestion in inner-city Brisbane has been a burning issue for some time. Together with population growth, slow progress on key infrastructure projects, such as Cross River Rail, and continuing urban sprawl, congestion will only worsen without action.
From an economic perspective, the expected benefit cost ratio of 1.91 for the Brisbane Metro means for every $1 of total expenditure, the project is expected to return $1.91 of benefits to Brisbane's economy.
From a resident’s perspective, Brisbane Metro will allow for greater efficiency in moving people around, specifically benefitting businesses by affording easier access for their employees, therefore increasing productivity, but most importantly for their customers.
The metro system presents an opportunity to better integrate all modes of transport, particularly with the Cross River Rail project, meaning the choice between cars and public transport becomes more balanced.
Under the current plans, there’s the option of scaling it up to other areas of Brisbane, meaning the network can essentially grow with the city without having the rigidity of a fixed rail line.
While CCIQ remains a strong advocate for new, viable infrastructure projects, it certainly supports maximising existing infrastructure, which the Brisbane Metro does, through the use of the existing busways.
Still, there is a big investment into some new infrastructure, such as the new South Brisbane station and two Cross River Rail interchanges, which will result in an increase of jobs and economic activity.
Another positive is that it’s a project that will certainly help Brisbane City Council’s quest in becoming a “new world city”, with hope that the project can be leveraged as an investment attraction.
But the public is yet to see the full business case, and the big question remains on how the project will be funded. It is unknown as to whether any new taxes or levies will be applied and to who it may apply.
If funding, alongside the cooperation between all three levels of government, can be reached in a way that does not substantially burden the business community or residents of Brisbane, the project is likely to receive full support from many.
With a predicted 630,000 people expected to work in the CBD by 2041, the $944 million project is on track to fulfill it’s promise of keeping Brisbane moving, in the most literal sense.