Huge surplus, no tram

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) questions why Manningham is once again neglected of overdue public transport projects given the announcement this week of a huge $825m surplus in the Victorian Budget for 2006.

PTUA spokesman and Doncaster resident Christopher Trikilis is outraged and disappointed that so much money is available to fund public infrastructure projects for Manningham, yet the government has had no plans to improve high-capacity public transport in the region during the past year. “This $825m surplus could have built the tram extension from North Balwyn to Doncaster twenty times over and completely overhauled bus services in the area easing the overcrowding in peak times. Instead, Manningham residents are forced to continue with transport inequality and causing congestion which costs more to local business and the economy.”

The well-supported and much-needed 4.5km tram extension along Doncaster Road from North Balwyn through to Doncaster Shoppingtown would cost around $35m and provide residents and business with a fast, frequent and reliable rail link to the city, and surrounding suburbs. Bus services could also be restructured to allow more frequent and reliable services to ease the overcrowding of present bus services.

“Bus services in the area are at capacity in the peaks, and bus services are almost non-existent on evenings and weekends. This tram extension would provide services to Manningham that much of Melbourne receives and residents have been denied for decades, and connect Manningham with the CBD by fixed rail – the only municipality within 15km of the CBD which is without either train or tram”, Mr. Trikilis said.

“Such a large budget shows mismanagement and a complete disregard for the people of Manningham and their needs. Transport looms as the major issue for the upcoming election, and questions must be raised about the credibility of the Bracks Government to deliver for the residents of Manningham”, concluded Mr. Trikilis.

Media coverage of this story:
Progress Leader, 10 October 2006: Tram line falls short at a glance
Manningham Leader, 11 October 2006: Government’s stance angers lobby group