Full link not viable

THE RACV wants us to believe that while WestLink may not be economically viable on its own, the full east-west freeway link would be (”Freeway not worth the cost: report”, The Age, 21/5). But it is not so: the Eddington study in 2008 found that the full East-West freeway had a benefit-cost ratio of just 0.5.

No amount of phoney ”benefits” and goalpost-shifting was able to generate a payoff to match the enormous cost of building the thing.

Victorian Transport Plan picture (Westlink)These road tunnels just don’t stack up. Let’s face it, the best way of getting people out of traffic congestion is to get them out of their cars. This means providing better options to walk, cycle or catch fast, frequent, reliable public transport, something sorely lacking in many suburbs.

Daniel Bowen, Public Transport Users Association, Melbourne

(Published in The Age, 22/5/2010)

Premier’s blind spot

JOHN Brumby still labours under the misconception that there’s only one major road crossing the Yarra from the western suburbs (”Cost won’t put a stop to freeway: Brumby”, The Age, 22/5). Something called the Bolte Bridge has escaped his attention, not to mention the two major arterial roads that run parallel to the proposed route of WestLink.

The Premier’s real blind spot, though, might be the six railway lines that cross the Maribyrnong. Two are freight lines, while the other four already carry more people in peak hour than the West Gate Bridge does. Yet none are being used to their full capability.

If we really want a resilient road system that can handle contingencies, the last thing we want to do is encourage more car traffic on to it. Freeway building makes our traffic problems worse.

Meanwhile, all the money we spend on fixed infrastructure is of no use if trains don’t run on time and aren’t backed up with first-rate feeder buses.

Tony Morton, Public Transport Users Association, Melbourne

(Published in The Age, 24/5/2010)