The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has applauded the Victorian Liberal Party for committing to deliver the broken promise of the South Morang rail extension.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This announcement is a victory for the people of MelbourneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s north, who have been fed nothing but lies for the past seven yearsÃ¢â‚¬Â, said PTUA Vice-President Alex Makin. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The South Morang rail extension was a promise made by the Steve Bracks back in 1999 but since broken by the Labor governmentÃ¢â‚¬Â.
In 1999 the then Bracks Opposition pledged to deliver the extension from Epping to South Morang with Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ$8m to provide rail access to Mill Park, The Whittlesea Civic Centre and the rapidly growing South Morang areaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ (Rebuilding a Transport Network, LaborÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Plan, 1999). The project was dropped until May 2006 when Labor announced they would not consider the extension until 2016.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Rather than deliver the required transport infrastructure for MelbourneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s growing northern suburbs the Bracks Government would rather deceive the public by creating the myth of capacity limitationsÃ¢â‚¬Â, said Mr. Makin. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The fact is there were more physical trains operating along in Epping line in 1980 than there are today demonstrates that spare capacity does in fact existÃ¢â‚¬Â.
While Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcapacity limitationsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ are cited as LaborÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reluctance to undertake the project, in 1980 there were 14 trains operating during the morning peak compared to just 11 today. In addition, trains were operating through to Whittlesea via the existing track until 1959.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Given the commitment the Victorian Liberals have made to MelbourneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s north, we call on the Bracks government to either match this offer or come clean and admit that they are too inept to deliver this project. The Victorian Liberals have shown they have a vision for MelbourneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s north and we look forward to further announcements over the coming weeksÃ¢â‚¬Â, concluded Mr. Makin.
See also: South Morang rail factsheet (PDF, 656Kb)