Dr Mees on light rail

The Canberra Times published the following letter from ACT Peak Oil President Jenny Goldie on November 10:

There is much to applaud in Dr Paul Mees' position on the ACT draft transport plan (Car-dependent disaster, CT, Nov 7). We do indeed need to redirect money away from the private car to public transport and more cycleways.

Nevertheless, his almost hysterical opposition to light-rail is hard to understand when rising oil prices resulting from peak oil is already evident. We may be able to have gas-powered buses for a few years but gas too is a finite resource and will need to be phased out at some point.

What we must do is electrify transport, particularly public transport, with electricity increasingly from renewable sources. Buses, of course, can be run on electricity but what's wrong with a few rails running up Northbourne Avenue and beyond, or between all town centres? The problem with cross traffic can be dealt with by lights giving priority to light-rail trains.

The economics may well favour buses over light rail right now but who's to say what the economics will be if oil doubles in price? Both the Pentagon and German military have warned there may be a global shortfall of 10 million barrels a day by 2015. Will there be enough oil to import to run the buses? If so, will we be able to afford it?