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Media Release

8/11/2005

Failed Freeway Fetish slammed

The Public Transport Users Association has slammed the freeway tunnel proposal relaunched today at the VECCI summit as 'outrageously outdated and unsustainable transport policy'.

"The roads lobby have taken the employers for a ride, with vested interests continuing to promote Melbourne's failed fetish for freeways", PTUA spokesman Alex Makin said.

"We've already got more freeways than the other 13 livable cities in the world, congestion has not improved and we are slipping behind in the livability rankings. Continuing car dependence by rolling out endless freeways is not making Melbourne any more livable.", Mr Makin said.

Robert Dunlop, executive director of the Macquarie Bank heads the summit's Infrastructure Taskforce. On Monday he said that the balance between road and public transport funding needs to move towards public transport. However the Eastern Freeway to Deer Park road tunnel proposal that his taskforce recommends has been estimated to cost up to $10 billion, well in excess of the proposed public transport investments.

Responding to suggestions that the long-overdue rail line to Doncaster could be included in the project, Mr Makin was not appeased. "It's like saying an egg is only half rotten rather than all rotten, therefore it's okay," he said. "That's not how eggs work and it's not how transport planning works. Any transport expert will tell you that if you want to build a rail line to encourage sustainable transport use you don't build a road at the same time. It would be also be entirely hypoctrical for the governemnt to endorse freeway extensions while at the same time ruling out rail extensions for 15 years."

"Building more freeways encourages more people to drive, increases pollution, accelerates climate change and undermines public transport use - it is anything but sustainable. It is a vicious and expensive spiral of funding that leading livable cities like Vancouver have long abandoned. Decades of expert reviews and practical experience shows that new roads don't 'kill congestion', and even the Committee for Melbourne recognise that boosting public transport reduces the need for road expansion. It is time Melbourne caught up with the rest of the world."

"Until Robert Dunlop can present and endorse a $10 billion public transport program, he must withdraw his support for the road tunnel proposal immediately. The transport proposals outlined in the VECCI summit today simply don't stack up to any claim of balance", Mr Makin said.

"Over half of Melbourne simply does not have any usable public transport. There is a clear massive imbalance forcing people into cars that must be urgently addressed. It is time the government took notice and shifted their transport priorities."

The VECCI Victoria Summit is sponsored by Macquarie Bank who have extensive financial interests in toll roads, and VicRoads who have a clear interest in building more roads. The summit has built in bias from vested interests destroying all credibility when it comes to tranpsort priorities.

"If we don't want to become a Los Angeles style traffic hell hole then we must change our priorities. The road lobby will never stop asking for freeways and if they get their way Melbourne will be on target to match Los Angeles for congestion, pollution, and social unrest", Mr Makin concluded.

Contacts:
PTUA Office 9650 7898


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Last Modified: 8 November 2005