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Media Release

02/10/2002

Cancel Freeway Now

Public Transport the cheaper option

Last week's disclosure of a cost blowout in the Eastern Freeway Extension and the Scoresby Freeway (now called the 'Mitcham to Frankston Freeway') has caused the Public Transport Users Association to call for the immediate cancellation of the two freeways.

"The two freeways together will cost almost 2 billion dollars. There is absolutely no way this type of expenditure can be justified", said PTUA President Les Chandra. "The interest on the loans alone would approach $100 million annually."

"Essential local roads projects and public transport upgrades are being stifled by lack of funds, as all available money is being diverted into this irresponsible project". added Mr Chandra. “Melbourne's outer suburbs deserve better."

"Extensive research over the past five years has shown that the Scoresby Freeway will be a disaster for the region:

  • It will worsen traffic on many east-west roands, while failing to take local traffic off local roads
  • It will cause massive environmental destruction throughout the Dandenong Valley Linear Park,
  • It will damage the local economy by encouraging people to travel out of the area for work and shopping."

"The cost of this freeway has gone up and up, not to mention the costs of maintaining the freeways once built. This kind of money could pay for new rail lines to Rowville and East Doncaster, and a massive boost to local buses - frequent services all day and evening, weekday and weekend - just like trams provide elsewhere in Melbourne. There would be plenty of change left over for local roadworks, hospitals, schools, and other more worthwhile uses of public money."

"We are calling on the government and the opposition to drop all plans for the Mitcham to Frankston freeway immediately and instead invest in public transport at a fraction of the cost. Priority must be given to public transport improvements" concluded Mr Chandra.

Background:

The Ringwood and Scoresby freeways were first proposed in the 1969 transport plan for Melbourne, which would have seen a grid of freeways across the entire metropolitan area.

The Environmental Effects Statement for the Scoresby Freeway (1996) stated that just a 2 per cent shift to public transport in the east would lead to a better result in terms of reduced traffic congestion than the freeway.

The EES study team was instructed not to investigate alternatives to the freeway as it was government policy to build the freeway whether or not it was environmentally, economically or socially desirable.

The Mitcham-Frankston Freeway runs primarily north-south. Figures produced by the EES showed that most traffic in the area is either local, or running east-west.

The PTUA is proposing an alternative of high quality public transport instead, anchored around strategic rail corridor extensions to Rowville and East Doncaster and frequent feeder bus services.

Cost comparisons

Mitcham-Frankston Freeway Rowville Train Line
Capital Cost
$1800 million
Annual Cost
$18 million
Capital Cost
$120 million
Annual Cost
$1 million
East Doncaster Train Line Bus Service Upgrades
Capital Cost
$350 million
Annual Cost
$2 million
Capital Cost
Annual Cost
$10 million

Public Transport Option saves $1.3 billion on capital costs and $5 million on annual operating costs.

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898


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Last Modified: 02 October 2002