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Geelong Branch Media Release

16/02/2004

Time to 'Sober Up' on Ring Road

The refusal of both major parties to commit federal funding to Geelong’s Western Ring Road meant it was time for the State Government and Geelong’s City Council to "sober up" on Geelong's transport problems, public transport users said today.

The Geelong Branch of the Public Transport Users Association made the call following the Shadow Transport Minister Martin Ferguson’s announcement that Federal Labor would not fund half of the $380m estimated cost for Geelong’s western ring freeway (Geelong Advertiser 16/2/04 p 7.) This came on top of an earlier dismissal of the ring road as a ‘state responsibility’ by Federal Transport Minister John Anderson’s adviser.

Spokesman for the Geelong Branch, Tim Petersen, congratulated Martin Ferguson for being honest with the electorate about the ring road’s eligibility for federal funding.

"It clearly couldn’t be described as a national highway- it doesn’t directly connect capital cities and the majority of its traffic would be cars carrying commuters and holiday-makers."

Mr Petersen said that public transport users hoped that the funding knock-back would prompt a more 'sober assessment' of Geelong’s transport problems within the State Government and the City of Greater Geelong.

"Now that it’s clear there’s no pot of federally-funded gold at the end of the ring road, it’s time the State Government and the City explored cheaper, more cost effective and ecologically sustainable alternatives to building freeways."

"It is clear that the nation’s taxpayers aren’t prepared to subsidise Geelong’s increasingly car-dependent lifestyle. Our rate of public transport use is half that of similar cities with poor public transport like Wollongong and Newcastle."

"We need to see a major upgrade of Geelong’s public transport, so that catching public transport goes from being a ‘last resort’ to a convenient alternative to driving." Mr Petersen said improving the frequency of buses and trains and improving service connections would be the key to getting more people onto public transport.

About the PTUA

Founded in 1976, the Public Transport Users Association is the recognised consumer organisation representing passengers of public transport. The PTUA is a non-profit, voluntary organisation with no political affiliation, which lobbies governments and public transport authorities in the interest of all users of public transport.

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898


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Last Modified: 16 February 2004