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TAS consortium gives Sydney monorail $2m price tag
30/03/2012 - Hobart's deputy Lord Mayor says Sydney's monorail is worth no more than $2 million and he has a consortium of businessmen prepared to put their hands in their pockets to help buy it. David Beniuk
Alderman Ron Christie says 80 per cent of the $19.8 million the NSW state government paid for Metro Transport was not for the unwanted monorail, but for its light rail system.
"The actual sale price of the monorail itself could be something around about the $2 million mark," he told reporters on Thursday.
"It's a scrap metal price."
Christie says his "unofficial" research has shown the monorail could be converted into a tram to run between iconic Salamanca Place and the popular restaurant strip at North Hobart for another $1.5 million.
He says the bogeys needed are available from Melbourne's Yarra Trams and the expertise from a Bendigo company already restoring historic trams in Tasmania.
"The cost of the rail (tracks) is next to nothing," Christie said.
"Yarra trams were giving this rail away last year.
"We still have rail in perfect condition (under some roads) ... I've been told by engineers if they dig up this rail they can transform that and that can possibly be used as well.
"They do this in Melbourne all the time."
Christie and a group of North Hobart businessmen, including cinema owner John Kelly and local GP Richard Roffe, are confident council can complete its deliberations urgently and begin talks with the NSW government before other interested cities get in first.
The North Hobart strip was pioneered by Italians who opened restaurants in the 1970s and - now complete with the arthouse State Cinema, cafes and music venues - resembles a mini version of Sydney's Leichhardt or Melbourne's Carlton.
Hobart is a compact but hilly city, meaning an arduous walk from the city to the restaurant hub or relying on buses.
Kelly said local businesses had considered contributing financially.
"We do have a budget which we're not quite prepared to reveal at this stage," he said.
"It's the premier restaurant strip in Tasmania now and this connection to Salamanca is going to be absolutely brilliant.
"We're sick and tired of the government spending millions and millions on ball games (the AFL), fast cars (the V8 Supercars) and endless reports.
"This is a positive, dynamic idea."