29 Jan 2020

Council still counting the cost of Brisbane Metro delays

Brisbane City Council still does not know exactly how much construction delays on its Brisbane Metro mass transit project will cost, six months after flagging the hold-up.

But the council insists the 2016 LNP election-pledge project is still "fully funded", despite also admitting the delays caused by reassessing the planned South Brisbane Metro station would cost more money.

The 2017 business case for Brisbane Metro indicated final construction would be completed by 2022; however, that has since been pushed out to 2023.

Public and active transport committee chairwoman Krista Adams said that, to date, the council had invested $113 million into the $944 million project, of which $43 million was put towards the Metro depot at Rochedale.

"The reality is delays do cost money, but it is fantastic we are now under way and have state government support for this critical project," Cr Adams said.

"Brisbane Metro will happen – it is fully funded by Brisbane City Council and the federal government."

In June last year Transport Minister Mark Bailey requested the council reconsider its planned metro station location under the Cultural Centre.

The request prompted an angry lashing from lord mayor Adrian Schrinner, but by the end of the year state and government had patched over the rift and early work for South Brisbane began.

Contractors that had already tendered for the Cultural Centre station were left waiting for a solution, with industry warning the council could have to pay more to those contractors left in the lurch after putting in multimillion-dollar bids.

"We are continuing to finalise the tender process and work with the state government on the Cultural Centre station options, with specific costs yet to be finalised," Cr Adams said.

The council had budgeted $49.6 million for Brisbane Metro across the 2017-2018 financial year, but spent only $16.6 million.

In 2018-19, the council had budgeted for $39.9 million and spent $44.4 million.

For the current financial year, the council budgeted $125 million, of which $7 million had been spent across July to October last year.

As of September last year, $12 million of spending went to the Brisbane Metro business case, and almost $29 million for design and technical investigations.

Sixteen million dollars were spent on purchasing land, and more than $1 million on marketing and communications for the Metro project.

Late last year, the council announced that electric vehicles for Brisbane Metro had been selected, with some fit-out work to be completed in Brisbane.

Labor lord mayoral candidate Pat Condren criticised the administration for running adverts saying the Brisbane Metro was "under way", labelling the adverts "misleading".

"Blowouts and delays are what we’ve come to expect from this unelected lord mayor," Mr Condren said.

"Yet he is still spending hundreds of thousands on misleading ads suggesting it's already running.

"This unelected lord mayor is more interested in promoting himself than delivering improved public transport for Brisbane."

SOURCE ; https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/council-still-counting-the-cost-of-brisbane-metro-delays-20200113-p53qzs.html

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