The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has attacked the State Government for propping up Eastlink with $700 million of taxpayer funds through its decision to build a Frankston Bypass. The Association says the money should be used to improve public transport instead.
“We warned the government that Eastlink would be the wrong solution to our transport difficulties and sadly that has proved correct,” said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUA’s Outer East convenor. “The biggest problem in Melbourne’s outer suburbs has always been the lack of usable public transport and Eastlink was certainly never going to solve that.”
According to Mr Lunn, the $700 million could fund a massive boost in public transport services. “For a fraction of that amount, we could electrify the rail line to Baxter and expand train services on the Frankston line as a whole, with plenty of change left over to upgrade local bus services.”
Building the Frankston Bypass wont be the first time that the State Labor Government has propped up a private toll road. It is already spending over a billion dollars widening the Monash and West Gate Freeways to help boost the profits of Citylink.
“It is totally unacceptable for a government to be shoring up the finances of private toll roads. It is even more irrational given that our shambolic public transport urgently requires upgrades.”
Mr Lunn also warned that the bypass would attract more cars to the Mornington Peninsula, creating traffic chaos for local residents.
A poll recently conducted by The Age newspaper showed that almost three quarters of Melburnians want funding directed to public transport rather than road expansion.
“Eastlink is just another motorway which has — yet again — failed to fix traffic congestion as promised,” Mr Lunn declared. “It is time the government made a genuine effort to bring our public transport system into the 21st century by responding to people’s demands to provide real, sustainable transport solutions”.