Brisbane smash highlights level-crossing, infrastructure debates

Truck driver lucky to survive when suburban train hits truck stuck on track at Banyo. The incident comes as think tank offers funding option to tackle such infrastructure challenges

September 14, 2012

A level crossing crash that has caused chaos in Brisbane’s north this morning will have given ammunition to those seeking a solution to the danger and congestion problems they pose.

In the Brisbane incident, at Banyo,
a passenger train hit a semi-trailer carrying an over-size load that was stuck on the tracks on the St Vincents Road level-crossing just after 6.30am.

The driver has been taken to hospital with serious leg injuries, police say, and it is believed 15 other
people have been treated for minor injuries.

According to the Courier Mail, the truck was hauling an electrical transformer when it came to a halt on the tracks.

The newspaper quotes witnesses as saying the driver then went beneath the vehicle to try to fix the problem but his truck was hit by a north-bound train as it approached the Banyo station.

In other parts of the country, the question of removing level-crossings remains vexed and work on them slow, not least due to the expense of the task and their number.

And it is part of a wider question of financing transport infrastructure.

The latest organisation to take on the issues has been the Committee for Melbourne.

In its report, Moving Melbourne, it supports the use of tolls and parking levies, along with selling property rights in the immediate area to help pay for level-crossing work.

During the report’s release this week, Committee for Melbourne CEO Kate Roffey says

The thijnk-tank believes that, with the current strain on State Government budgets, a combination of funding options such as business levies, tolls and value capture mechanisms, in addition to government funding, could form part of the solution to addressing Victoria’s infrastructure backlog.

"With the cost of infrastructure projects running into the billions, no single government can tackle the enormity of this challenge alone," Roffey adds.

"We are all responsible, and we all need to get involved.

"Some of the funding options available may be unpopular to discuss or difficult to understand; nonetheless we do need to have these conversations."

An update on the national infrastructure debate will appear in the next edition of ATN magazine.

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