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Media Release


Infrastructure report confused

More Engineers toys not the solution

The Public Transport Users Association has described today's announcement of proposals from the Infrastructure Planning Council to spend $1 billion upgrading the City Loop as confused and misdirected.

PTUA Vice President Dr Anna Morton, said that for the billion dollars the Council proposed spending to upgrade the City Loop, most of the gaps in Melbourne's public transport could be filled.

"The City Loop is already quite capable, with some minor signalling modification, of carrying the entire CBD workforce" said Dr Morton. "If the Minister has a billion dollars to spend, there are much more urgent projects, including the many suburbs with little or no public transport service.

Dr Morton said that the rail network, including the City Loop, was carrying less than half the passengers it was designed for.

"Melbourne's rail patronage has fallen by half since 1950, before the City Loop was even built. It would be rather odd if the same infrastructure couldn't cope with the same passenger numbers in the 21st century."

Dr Morton said that new rail lines to Rowville, Tullamarine Airport and East Doncaster, duplicating single-track sections on the Eltham, Lilydale and Belgrave lines (which contribute to unreliable trains and limit capacity), and an overhaul of bus services, are higher priorities than adding capacity to an underutilised City Loop.

"Rail lines to East Doncaster and Rowville would provide great benefits to residents of the Eastern suburbs, at less cost than the ever growing list of freeways, connections and extensions which people are being told they need." Said Dr. Morton. "The East Doncaster rail line was promised thirty years ago when the Eastern Freeway was planned. Since most of the Eastern Freeway traffic is heading to the City, it seems obvious that a rail line to the City is what is needed, rather than a connection to the Tullamarine Freeway."

"These projects would leave enough change for some less glamorous work like a third track on the Ringwood line and duplicating the remaining single track sections, and upgrading buses to offer tram-like service levels."

"We are a long, long way from having serious capacity problems on the rail network. We hope the Minister will re-examine infrastructure priorities and put the money where it is needed, rather than into over-engineered white elephants," concluded Dr Morton

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 20 September 2002