Brisbane Metro may be procured as an availability PPP

The $706m project could be funded by the federal government’s A$10bn National Rail Programme, pending further analysis on its economic viability.

Brisbane City Council has released a preliminary business case for Brisbane Metro, considering availability-based PPP as one of two potential delivery models. 

The A$944 million ($706 million; €627 million) metro project was first announced in 2016 as a way to relieve pressure on the city’s bus network, which has reached capacity at many inner-city locations, according to the city council. 

The proposed high-frequency metro system will feature two metro lines, with a network covering 21km of existing busway linking Eight Mile Plains, the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and the University of Queensland as well as all bus stations in between. It will also introduce a new fleet of 60 metro vehicles, each with capacity for up to 150 people. 

The business case, which included value-for-money assessments of various delivery frameworks, identified the Design and Construct model and the availability PPP scheme as two viable options for the project. Discussing the PPP model, the report noted that transferring the project’s demand risk to the private sector would be difficult, given the state government’s responsibility for public transport delivery and revenue collection. 

The initial assessment concluded that additional analysis is required to determine a preferred delivery model, prompting the city council to undergo further value-for-money studies on both options. 

The next stages of project planning include further defining the impacts, benefits and opportunities of Brisbane Metro in partnership with key stakeholders and the community, the city council said. 

Subject to funding and government approvals, construction is expected to commence in 2019, with a 2022 scheduled completion date. In the latest federal budget, the project was flagged as one of the potential initiatives to be funded by the newly announced A$10 billion National Rail Programme.