‘Balance’ is missing

THE secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Cesar Melhem, suggests Victoria can have the $10 billion east-west road link and still invest in public transport improvements (“AWU pushes for east-west tunnel“, The Age, 30/7). As Darryl Kerrigan would say, “he’s dreamin”‘.

Such a massive road project would suck up all our transport funding for a generation. Just as the Eastern Freeway killed off 40 years’ worth of level-crossing grade separations, and EastLink rode over the community’s first opportunity to get funding for the Rowville train line, so the east-west link will spell doom for any serious expansion of the metropolitan public transport network until after 2030.

For decades, the road lobby has hidden its voracious appetite behind rhetoric and spin about the need for “balance” in transport planning. The reality is we have not built one suburban train line in 80 years. We have a real choice to make about transport in Melbourne, and it seems the one being made for us is not the one Victorians voted for at the last election.

Tony Morton, secretary, Public Transport Users Association, Melbourne — letter published in The Age 31/7/2012