Transport solutions have changed drastically over the past 30 years, from the railways to the tramways to buses and trams, and the future is much more likely to involve private investment in transport.
But a few key issues remain.
Infrastructure is critical The railways are now the main link in the infrastructure chain, with an estimated annual cost of about $US4.3 trillion.
The rail network is the most expensive, with the estimated cost of a 10-kilometre train running in 2020 around $US5.8 trillion.
And the railroads are only one part of the transport network.
In 2020, the federal government will spend $US1.5 trillion on the rail network, but it will still only have about $50 billion of capacity.
It will take an investment of $US2 trillion, and that is only to build and operate new trains.
The rest of the money will be needed to rebuild the network, including upgrading existing ones and upgrading existing track, bridges and tunnels.
There is also the matter of funding.
As with other public infrastructure projects, funding will be determined by a range of factors, including the overall level of spending and how much each project is likely to generate in revenue.
In the past, the government has spent about $20 billion on rail projects and a similar amount on roads, and in recent years, the funding has also been stretched to include the building of new rail lines, particularly in Queensland and NSW.
Transport infrastructure also depends on a mix of private and public sector investment.
Private investment is often based on the notion that public transport is inherently unreliable and unreliable is the primary concern.
But while the state governments have spent significant sums to upgrade rail infrastructure in recent decades, the amount of private investment is limited.
The Government’s own Infrastructure Australia website lists the total cost of rail and bus services across the country, and it notes that private investment has not yet reached its peak level of around $200 billion.
In Queensland, for example, there is currently no private investment on the National Transit Corridor.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard has highlighted the importance of infrastructure investments in the future, calling for $US500 billion in new infrastructure over the next 10 years.
But this is far short of what the Government is calling for in its infrastructure plan.
“The future of transport is going to involve a mix and the investment required to deliver it,” Mr Hazzards spokeswoman said.
“As with any other infrastructure project, funding and financing decisions will be driven by the overall cost of the project.”
Private investors will be important Private investors are still a major part of transport infrastructure investment, and a lot of that investment is being funded through the private sector.
In its infrastructure plans, Infrastructure Australia states that private capital investment in the rail sector will be “a major component” of the future transport system, and also notes that this will be done through a range the types of projects.
The list of projects includes rail freight and freight freight-related infrastructure projects in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, and other freight and transport-related projects.
“Private investment is important for improving the reliability and efficiency of public transport, improving access to markets, and helping businesses create jobs and create jobs growth,” Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure and Regional Development Director David Aikins said.
In a 2015 report, Infrastructure Australasia, the company behind the Infrastructure Australia report, said it was clear that “a significant number of private-sector investors would be needed in order to deliver the full range of public-transport infrastructure investment”.
But while there are a number of examples of private capital investing in transport infrastructure, Mr Hazards spokeswoman also said that private companies “wouldn’t necessarily be required to finance it”.
The Government has made clear that it will be investing more in rail infrastructure, but infrastructure is still not a monolithic public service.
A number of factors will affect the funding of rail infrastructure projects.
For example, the Federal Government is likely not to have the capacity to finance the construction of all the new rail infrastructure that is required in order for public transport to remain reliable.
The Commonwealth and State Governments will have to fund the infrastructure project and pay the costs of servicing it, and this will depend on the type of rail project.
Also, some rail projects require private funding to operate, such as new lines connecting to other rail lines.
Private funding will also be needed for projects that require less private investment, such the rail link between Perth and Melbourne.
The Federal Government also faces significant competition from private investment through the National Infrastructure Corporation, which is currently under consideration for funding.
It has the capacity of funding about $100 billion over the 20 years that it is being run.
But there are concerns that the NBN is the best bet for funding rail infrastructure.
Infrastructure Australia estimates that private funding would be required for the $1.2 trillion rail network.
The National Infrastructure Commission is also considering private funding.
But the Government’s plans for infrastructure development include more private investment than it currently has, and these are likely