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Open letter to Premier Napthine reminds Coalition of their promise to fix public transport not build East-West toll road

July 1st, 2014 (Election 2014, Media releases, Melbourne metro)

Crowded trainThe Public Transport Users Association today published an open letter to Premier Napthine in the Herald Sun reminding the Government of their promise to fix public transport rather than build the East-West toll road.

“With our public transport network falling apart, Victorians are shocked that the Government is prioritising this half-baked toll road project without a public business case rather than fix public transport as they promised,” Dr Tony Morton, President of the Public Transport Users Association, said.

The letter, signed by more than 200 Victorians including the Mayors of four local Councils demonstrates that the community opposition to this road is not only sophisticated by well resourced.

“Without an opportunity to vote on this project, Victorians are using other avenues to have their voices heard,” Dr Morton said. “People from across Victoria are getting active on this issue because everyone has so much to loose if this toll road gets built,” said Dr Morton.

“This project is being hastily brought forward despite recommendations that further planning is required and despite the fact that Victorians have not had a chance to vote on this project,” said Dr Morton. “Napthine might think it is OK to approve an $18 billion project despite plans not even being finalised, however, Victorians do not.”

“When it comes to the primary question of whether this toll road is the number one transport priority for Victoria – the answer is a resounding ‘No’,” Dr Morton said.
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Last chance for Victorian Government to honour its promises

June 4th, 2014 (Election 2014, Media releases)

The Napthine Government could boost its tenuous grip on power and regain the confidence of the Victorian public if it kept its 2010 election promises on transport – but time is running out, the Public Transport Users Association said today.

“Premier Napthine risks not winning a second term of government, whether an election is called now or in November,” said PTUA President Tony Morton. “But this is a situation of the government’s own making. It was the Premier and the government’s decision to trash its 2010 promises on public transport, the ones that won Victoria for the Coalition for the first time since 1996, and sink all its money into a foolish East West road project with a return of 80 cents in the dollar.”

“Were it not conscripting the public treasury to this $18 billion traffic factory, the Napthine Government could afford to go ahead with what it promised in 2010. It could build the lines to Doncaster and Rowville, assisted by Metro’s high-capacity signalling initiatives, build a proper station at Southland, and restore country rail links between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.”
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Neat, plausible and wrong: East West Link

June 3rd, 2014 (Election 2014, Melbourne metro)

The proposed freeway to remove the bottleneck created by the previous proposed freeway...PTUA President Tony Morton’s in-depth article on the history and folly of East West Link, originally published in Eco-Logica: World Transport Policy and Practice, is now available online on the YCAT web site.

The state of Victoria, Australia, has long been a site of tension between an incumbent and powerful road lobby and a community increasingly desirous of non-car transport alternatives. Today there is no greater signifier of this than the East West Link, a proposed 18km motorway in Melbourne estimated to cost $16 billion. The project is unprecedented both in the haste with which it is being pushed through the planning and pre-construction stages, and the apparent determination of the State Government not to seek any kind of public mandate for the project at a State election.

Click here to read the full article: Neat, plausible and wrong: Melbourne’s East West Link

PTV’s new proposed rail map

May 19th, 2014 (Newsletters)

As mentioned in our May member newsletter, PTV is seeking comments on this new design for the rail map. Click on the map to see it full size.

Leave a comment on our Facebook page – or you can send your feedback directly to PTV.

PTV proposed new rail map (May 2014)

Free transport forum: How do liveable cities stay liveable?

May 17th, 2014 (Events)

PTUA/MTF Liveable cities banner 201405

  • Promoting public discussion about transport in Melbourne
  • WHEN: May 27, 2014 at 6pm – 7:30pm
  • WHERE: Melbourne Town Hall
  • RSVP here

East West Link: submission

May 16th, 2014 (Melbourne metro)

EWLink-CISClick below to read the PTUA’s submission to the East West Link hearings in April.

The submission identifies a number of important issues not flagged in the Comprehensive Impact Statement, including problems with traffic modelling, local impacts on trains, trams and buses.


Big splurge on roads, while public transport planned on the run, says PTUA

May 6th, 2014 (Media releases)

Flinders Street StationThe 2014 State Budget will splurge $7 billion on new roads in the next term of government alone, yet will spend only $2.5 billion on new public transport developments in that time. This includes welcome spending on level crossing grade separations and early works on a long-awaited rail link to Melbourne Airport. But actual airport trains will still not be seen for at least a decade, the Public Transport Users Association said today.

“At last, after half a century we might finally see a train line to Melbourne Airport,” said PTUA President Tony Morton. “But even that is still a decade away. Meanwhile the Doncaster and Rowville rail extensions that were promised in 2010 seem to have disappeared off the radar. And as for the Mernda and Clyde extensions to serve our outer suburbs, there’s nothing to be seen.”

The headline item of the State Budget is clearly the $18 billion East West Link, with the government committing to start construction on both the eastern and western sections in its next term. “For all the government talks about public transport upgrades, if you look at what’s promised to be built in the next four years, this hugely expensive road leaves everything else in the shade,” Dr Morton said.
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Road-building feeds the congestion monster

May 4th, 2014 (Letters to the editor)

Liveable for how long?

Not only is the federal government to give $1 billion towards building the western half of the East West Link without a shred of a business case (unless we count the Eddington Report’s 45¢ return in the dollar), Victorians are to be slugged with an extra year of tolls so that Transurban can add more lanes to the Tullamarine Freeway.

And it is all designed to funnel more drivers into Melbourne, choke the inner city with traffic and undermine the natural advantage of, and community preference for, public transport.

Have we given up on the whole idea of a liveable city? Road-building merely feeds the congestion monster. Furthermore, expenditure on big roads in Melbourne dwarfs all proposed public transport initiatives by an order of magnitude, and comes at the expense of schools, hospitals and regional development.

Tony Morton, Public Transport Users Association

Published in The Age, 4/5/2014

Zone 2 residents likely worse off, not better off from fare changes: PTUA

March 26th, 2014 (Election 2014, Media releases, Melbourne metro)

Myki fare gates, Parliament stationThe Public Transport Users Association has slammed the Napthine Government’s announcement of a flat fare cap for Melbourne as a “lost opportunity” to reform fares in a sustainable direction, and as a longer-term hit on people in the suburbs that the scheme is supposed to help.

“If Premier Napthine really wanted to make public transport cheaper for people in the suburbs, almost any other way of doing it would work better than what he has announced today,” PTUA President Tony Morton said.

“By applying a Zone 1 fare cap right across the metropolitan area, the system is now forced to charge the same price to travel two streets away as to travel right across Melbourne,” he said. “So if the system has to charge more for the longest journeys in future, it’ll have to charge the same for a short trip too, even if there’s still a slight discount for Zone 2 relative to Zone 1.”

Dr Morton explained that when Zone 3 was abolished in 2007, fares quickly rose to claw back the difference. “Back in 2006 it cost $52.20 a week to travel in all three zones,” he said. “It now costs $60.60 a week to travel in two zones. The saving for those outer suburban travellers was eaten up within just five years, and we fully expect the same will occur for Zone 2 travellers with this measure.”
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PM’s nonsensical logic

March 15th, 2014 (Letters to the editor)

Traffic from the Eastern Freeway queues to turn into Hoddle Street and head towards the CityDoes Tony Abbott really think Victorians will accept that black is white? That the best way to fund public transport expansion is to not fund it? More specifically, to pull all federal funding out of urban public transport on spurious ideological grounds and pour money into competing road projects instead (“Tony Abbott backs East West Link to make rail ‘easier’“, theage.com.au, 14/3)?

Because the bulk of public revenue goes to the Commonwealth, major road/rail projects have always required a mix of state and federal funding. If the Commonwealth withholds funding, that usually spells death for a desperately needed state project.

The East West Link panel is hearing evidence that the road will not have a sustained improvement on traffic congestion but will add to traffic levels in the suburbs. Victorians fed up with congestion should demand the Premier cancel the project, thus freeing up the money for desperately needed public transport.

Tony Morton, Public Transport Users Association
Published in The Age, 15/3/2014