Integrated public transport is not an option

By Dennis O’Connell

Ian Hundley’s letter – Beware private sector spruikers – (Age 11/4) encapsulates the key issues we’re currently facing in infrastructure spending, which has been long been skewed toward toll roads and freeways and away from public transport, leading to a  major deficit in PT which now has to be made up.

Notwithstanding this, It seems some in the business world including Sir Rod Eddington, are still wedded to the 1950’s thinking of yet more freeways eg; the East West tunnel as a solution. This has now been sensibly dropped by the Baillieu government in favour of better public transport solutions eg; Doncaster Rail, Rowville Rail, and an Airport Rail Link (an overdue alternative, to the current parking monopoly).  Hopefully, North East  Link through heritage parkland in Banyule, will be similarly deleted.

The public made their views known at the last election, giving the Brumby administration and its Transport Plan the flick, voting instead, for an alternative government which was actually going to re focus spending for a change, on public transport.  It is amazing to see that some elements of the infrastructure industry are still to come to grips with this. It should be apparent even to die-hard – bitumen is best – road lobby adherents, that times have changed, in an age of climate change and peak oil, a Los Angeles styled spaghetti  junction future is well past its use by date. Efficient, integrated public transport in a city growing as quickly as Melbourne, is essential, not optional.


About Friends of Banyule Inc

President & Public Officer of Friends of Banyule Inc, a community not- for-profit organisation to enhance and protect the environmental assets of Banyule City. Currently fighting the proposed NE Link freeway through one of inner Melbourne's most ecologically sensitive areas and historical areas.
This entry was posted in Baillieu Government, Banyule Flats, Car Dependency, Investment in Rail, Ne-Link Freeway, Public Transport, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Integrated public transport is not an option

  1. Francis G says:

    We “are still wedded to the 1950′s thinking of yet more freeways..”. Yes, and we are still wedded to the 1950’s Arthur Caldwell’s mantra of “populate or perish” despite diminishing arable land and natural resources. When oil was cheap and plentiful, populations grew and spread accordingly. However, the age of oil-based growth must come to an end. Ongoing growth at a time of planetary winding-down is inevitably fatalistic and time-limited. Once petrol prices head towards $2 litre, costs of goods and services will continue to soar, and as urban sprawl spreads and we maximise our numbers to the brim, diseconomies of scale will bite hard. Re-engineering cities like Melbourne that were not designed for large scale infrastructure is expensive, congestive and prohibitive. It means we end up with monolithic white-elephants in the future, but still to be paid for from the public purse. So many stresses are placed on people today, and overshooting our environmental outputs, and human-made infrastructure, is not in our interests…and an economic model based on perpetual growth is inappropriate for our times.

  2. VivKay says:

    According to The Age (27/4) (Rail loses out to road spending) road building has received four times more federal, state and local government funding over the past decade than new rail projects, a report to be released today says.

    Only Tasmania spends less on rail, and they have no commuter rail system. The ACF found that Australia’s public transport sector is a poor cousin to roads when it comes to funding. Our government is simply a living relic of a former era, trapped in a 1950s/60s time-warp!

    The Baillieu government came as a protest after the corrupt and incompetent Brumby government, but we really must wonder what they have to offer.

    Roads assume plentiful petrol, but with peak oil, vehicle use must wind down. Rail must be our future, with transport hubs to finish the distribution for goods and services.

    Our State government is still adhering to the retro idea of roads and bridges, simply ignoring peak oil and climate change implications. They are also deeply entrenched in the outdated “populate and perish” – rather than a steady-state economy for survival on diminishing resources and climate change.

    Where’s our government’s contingency plan for peak oil? They are burying their heads in the sand, and continuing along the “business as usual” route by focusing on short-term gain at the expense of producing monolithic white-elephants!

    More should be spent on rail, the future of public transport, than on petrol-dependent cars and trucks. We should be consolidating our existing city, not forcing its expansion and passing the costs onto the public.

    The price of continuing an out-dated freeway/tunnel system for Banyule would be far too high. It would mean a loss of a historical, social and biodiversity green-wedge – all natural wealth that is becoming far too frequently destroyed in the name of “progress”.

  3. SP says:

    Sadly, these comments from 2011 were too optimistic. Look at what we have now: a state government determined to press home the east-west link against all opposition and with vast cost: and no Doncaster Rail – not even a glimmer. Spending on bikes is pretty slim, too.

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