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Eleven years and still waiting

The Rowville railway line should have been built by now, according to the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA). It’s been eleven years since Labor made the feasibility study promise which helped the Bracks/Brumby Government win power in 1999.

“It’s absurd that the Brumby Government hasn’t even done a study when we know the railway line is desperately needed,” said the PTUA’s outer east convenor Jeremy Lunn. “Not only has the government had 11 years to complete a study, the railway line could already have been built by now.

“They also forgot to do the outer east transport plan that was promised. This plan would have shown that the railway line is urgently needed, together with frequent feeder bus services.

“While some people suggest a railway line is expensive, it’s a fraction of the amount of public money that went into roads such as Eastlink, Peninsula Link, widening of the Monash Freeway and the Western/Northern Ring Road. So we’re not actually talking about a huge amount of money that’s needed for Rowville rail.”

Mr Lunn said that there had also been other missed opportunities such as recent AusLink money, which the outer east completely missed out on.

“The completion of a feasibility study should have been yesterday’s news, and the rail line built by now. It shouldn’t be something we’re still debating at the 2010 state election.”

The latest Public Transport Minister has also completely neglected residents of the outer east, according to Mr Lunn. “Commencing a study should have been high on his priority list when he was sworn in as minister.

“The PTUA’s Outer East branch has made multiple attempts to meet with Martin Pakula to discuss this and other local issues, however, he has declined our invitation. It is a travesty that a minister continually refuses to meet with the community.

“The Brumby Government has completely failed us by not doing any studies or planning for the Rowville railway line. Residents of the outer east will have to wait much longer for their railway line purely because the government has done nothing.

The PTUA believes that a full study, with community consultation, must be completed urgently to determine the optimum route and design, so that construction of the rail line can take place as soon as possible.

“Residents of the outer east are already feeling the pinch from congestion and long travel times that results from not having the Rowville railway line. There are huge problems at the car dependent Monash University, which should be served by the railway line.”

Mr Lunn said that residents of the outer east are also struggling financially from the cost of operating two or more cars per household.

“Meanwhile the government has been busy drawing up a speculative new Vicroads plan for enormous roads which they acknowledge aren’t even needed now and probably never will be. Where’s the equivalent plan with Rowville rail which we needed 20 years ago?”

“Eleven years have passed since Labor’s promise. It’s about time the Brumby Government and their Transport Minister got on with the job of providing the outer east with real transport options,” Mr Lunn concluded.