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Media Release


Rail $100 million or freeway $800 million

A train to Monash, Waverley Park and Rowville must now be considered

A senior transport consultant to the State Government has conceded that a train line to Rowville may cost as little as $100 million - a massive $225 less than the rail option costed by the Department of Infrastructure.

The Public Transport Users' Association says yesterday's evidence by transport consultant Mr Graham Currie, to the Scoresby Transport Corridor EES panel hearing, discredits the Department of Infrastructure role in the EES process.

The PTUA has called for an evaluation of rail options to Rowville by independent rail engineers.

For many years the State Government has been looking at extending rail services to Rowville and the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan proposed a route from Huntingdale via Waverley and Monash University.

A more recent alternative included the partial undergrounding of an extended Glen Waverley line.

In 1996 Mr Currie prepared preliminary cost estimates for the two routes, calculating them at Glen Waverley ($85 million) and Huntingdale ($100 million). The department then re-examined the Glen Waveriey line to find it would cost more than $325 million, However there was no re-examination of the Huntingdale option.

On cross-examination before the panel yesterday Mr Currie acknowledged that a rail extension from Huntingdale may only cost $100 million.

While the PTUA believes the Glen Waverley figure is grossly inflated it is more concerned that the alternative cheaper route via Huntingdale was completely ignored by the department.

The PTUA says the department's failure to consider the Huntingdale rail option exposed its real agenda - to push through the Scoresby Freeway at the expense of public transport. PTUA president Dr Paul Mees, said the $100 million rail extension must now be evaluated as an option and compared to the $800 million freeway.

"The fine detail of the EES report show. that a mere 1.2 per cent increase in public transport patronage would have the same economic impact, through the reduction of traffic on local roads, as the Scoresby Freeway.

"There is no doubt that a train to Rowville would help achieve that 1.2 per cent increase and the benefits would come at a cost to taxpayers of only $100 million compared to $8OO million for a freeway,

"Blind Freddie and even the government's own adviser can see that the train wins over the freeway on both economic and environmental grounds, yet this opt/on was not considered.

" We now call on the government to commission an independent firm of rail engineers to evaluate the rail options to Rowville'" said Dr Mees.

(Note; Mr Currie works for management consultants Booz Allen Hamilton)

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 22 December 1999