According the very first episode of the Dad and Dave radio serial, which went to air in 1937, Steele Rudd’s comic creations lived in Snake Gully, said to be not that far from Gundagai. That means, of course, our latest Prime Minister’s latest brainwave, the Very Fast Train (VFT), will likely fly past their selection on its way from Melbourne to Sydney. Dad, though, probably won’t be pleased. Always tight with a penny, he will be unimpressed by the “value capture” means Mr Turnbull is suggesting will pay for much of it. Dave, who’s a bit dim and might even vote for the Greens, will think it is a bonza idea.
Simply put, value capture financing assumes that a railway line raises property values by improving accessibility at stations along the route, and this opens the doors for higher rates and taxes which can be shared with the train line’s investors.
However, achieving that gain encounters a problem: the train must stop, and stop often, if it is to lift property values. This means a VFT becomes a MDFT, as in Much Delayed Fast Train. Dad in his crusty way would say such a conveyance is nothing like fast and doomed to be a colossal waste of money.
Not to worry. Innovative and agile trains are today’s thought bubble. Tomorrow there will be another, you can bet on it. So while Australia awaits the latest off-the-cuff revelation of prime ministerial genius, why not relax with that first episode of Dad and Dave, which can be enjoyed at Youtube via the link below.