Say NO to West Gate Tunnel – rally for a sustainable Melbourne
Please share to your profile, page or group – Say NO to West Gate Tunnel – rally for a sustainable Melbourne – come along and show solidary for Melbourne’s west…
Zombie Project hidden in North East Link Option A?
So you’ve heard about the proposed North East Link, but do you know about the options? Option A , one of the proposed options looks alarming for Collingwood, Fitzroy, Carlton…
Doncaster bus rapid transit?
Transdev Melbourne has made a pitch for “Doncaster bus rapid transit” Is it a viable alternative to heavy or light rail along the Doncaster reservation and Eastern median or is…
West Gate Tunnel EES released for public comment
Thirty days, yes, thirty short days to respond to 10,000 pages of the West Gate Tunnel Environmental Effects Statement! From Colleen Hartland, MP: thetollroadwontwork.org.au The West Gate Tunnel Environmental Effects…
Reasons for de-scoping the Western Distributor
To all parties with an interest in the Western Distributor Here is Victorian Transport Action Group’s (VTAG’s) paper that assesses the impact of the Western Distributor (WD) and offers 10 recommendations…
Transurban – A Case for a Senate Inquiry
Secret Deals, Influenced Government, Over $1 Billion in Penalties, Neighbourhoods Destroyed, Environmental Impact, Tens of Thousands Affected and a Plan to Toll All Roads Michael Fraser and Maddison Johnstone investigate…
Farewell Flemington Road Gum
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way” William Blake Tuesday 26th July 2016: Update from Guardians…
Submission on the establishment of a National Integrity Commission
In April 2016, WestCONnex Action Group joined forces with Victoria’s Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport and WA’s Rethink the Link to make a submission to the Senate Committee on…
Murphy v East West Link Supreme Court Challenge website now archived on YCAT
We have archived the entire Murphy v East West Link Supreme Court Challenge website from 2014- 2015 on YCAT for future reference and have included a new Media Coverage section. Note:…
The risk of unsolicted proposals
Will the Victorian government read the VAGO report, take a breath and reassess that unsolicted Transurban bid for Western Distributor? Read the VAGO Report: Applying the High Value High Risk…
Finally … The End Of The Road
From Residents Against The Tunnel (RATs): Finally … The End Of The Road For Murphy v State Government Of Victoria It has been a long time, but this Supreme Court Challenge,…
‘Peak car’ makes building freeways risky
AFR: ‘Peak car’ makes building freeways risky by Geoff Winestock (11 June 2015) A worldwide trend away from driving cars should make investors and governments more cautious about building big…
Route 100 Light Rail – Doncaster to Inner City
Route 100 Light Rail – Doncaster to Inner City by Victorian Transport Action Group The attached paper on a Doncaster light rail which continues along Alexandra Parade to Nicholson Street…
You Stopped the East West Toll Road
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East West Link “Letter of Guarantee” demands investigation
YCAT Editorial Here is a copy of the East West Link “side letter” to the consortium, signed by the Napthine Government that blackmails Victorian taxpayers. The timing of this document…
Neat, Plausible and Wrong: Melbourne’s East West Link
The state of Victoria, Australia, has long been a site of tension between an incumbent and powerful road lobby and a community increasingly desirous of non-car transport alternatives. Today there…
The Battle for Alexandra Parade
The proposed East West road tunnel is not the first time the inner northern communities of Melbourne have faced the onslaught of massive road developments. In 1970s and 1990s, the…
Roads to nowhere – by William McDougall
YCAT hosts complete copies of the Eddington Investing in Transport Report (2008) and the Norther Central City Corridor Study (2001) that are referenced in the article below. We do this in the hope that one day transport planning will be evidenced based and not corrupted by monopolistic corporate interests. Neither study is available on any Victorian Government web site, despite being publicly funded.
Our ridiculous frenzy of road construction will swallow up resources for two decades
by William McDougall
Victoria’s politicians have thrown away the benefits of the state’s stamp duty bonanza and the proceeds from the Port of Melbourne sale over recent years by investing in politically motivated, badly conceived road projects.They have also delayed and dumbed down vital public transport projects.
All of this has been for purely political reasons, yet it hasn’t even delivered political success: the last two state elections have been lost on transport grounds. The next could go the same way.
With a price tag of $5.5 billion and a promise to reduce congestion, the West Gate Tunnel project is an ambitious one. But does it stack up?
We in the real world have known for years that building more roads generates more traffic and worsens congestion. For this reason, Melbourne’s growth and economic success is best served by putting public transport first, not last.
Last Friday, as the end of the year approached, the government released the heavily redacted contract with Transurban for the West Gate Tunnel. It will cost Victorians billions, unnecessarily, and yet it is just the latest in a string of foolish road projects this state has embarked on.
Over 18 months from 2001, I oversaw the Northern Central City Corridor Study for the Bracks Labor government. This major investigation by the state showed that investing in public transport properly would avoid the need for new roads in the north, including the East West Link.Then, in 2007, I was among those advising Sir Rod Eddington on his East West Link Needs Assessment.
Those of us advising Eddington argued strongly that the study had to consider public transport as well as roads if it was to come to any meaningful conclusions.
Eddington took that on board, and when his study came out it recommended building the Melbourne Metro ahead of the East West Link.
Another project proposed by Eddington, the Regional Rail Link, ended up being built before either. Funded by Labor, the incoming Baillieu government from 2010 tried to save time and money by reducing its scope and benefits.
When Denis Napthine took over as premier in 2013, he dreamed up an inferior version of the Melbourne Metro. Napthine’s project (dubbed the Melbourne Rail Link) bypassed the CBD rather than servicing it.
The rail link was imposed on the transport department by Napthine and his ministers, keen to have a “non-Labor” project under way. So politicised had transport planning become that public servants were told to “make it work” when they advised him that it was a dud.
Napthine also fast-tracked the East West Link, signing contracts in haste for a project that had a benefit-cost ratio of 45 cents in the dollar. In doing so, he completely ignored the most recent research into the project – Eddington’s 2008 study – and pressed ahead regardless. Again for political reasons.
When Labor returned to power, the Andrews government immediately dropped the Melbourne Rail Link and resurrected Melbourne Metro. However, they omitted metro platforms at South Yarra station, thus worsening the rail service at the busiest station outside the City Loop.
They also scrapped the East West Link and committed to removing 50 of Melbourne’s many rail level crossings.
But Labor also did a secret deal with Transurban to build the West Gate Tunnel, going through a sham business case assessment – in which I was involved as a senior reviewer.
Labor used the same team of public servants and consultants as did the East West Link business case.
I was so deeply concerned about the traffic forecasting and economic analysis being carried out for the West Gate Tunnel business case I raised my concerns with Treasurer Tim Pallas.
My warning was ignored and I was removed from the project.
The deal to build the West Gate Tunnel will benefit Transurban through extended tolling on CityLink until 2046, as well as tolling on the new road.
We taxpayers are subsidising the project (to the tune of $1.6 billion, and rising) to give this toll revenue to Transurban.
I think this must be the first publicly subsidised toll road in Australia, in modern times.
Daniel Andrews says that if the opposition blocks the deal in the Victorian Parliament the project will still go ahead, but taxpayers will foot the bill. He is also trying to make badly needed reforms to the toll penalties dependent on the project. This kind of cynical, desperate politicking surpasses anything done by his predecessors and must rank among the worst pieces of transport “policy” in Melbourne’s history.
Adding insult to injury, both the main parties now support the North East Link, and the Liberals want to resurrect the East West Link. Both will load up the Eastern Freeway, which I fully expect will then need widening – and tolling – as part of the deal. Thus we’ll probably end up with tolls on CityLink, the West Gate Tunnel, the East West Link, the North East Link, the Eastern Freeway and EastLink.
This ridiculous frenzy of road construction will swallow up resources for two decades, preventing any more major public transport improvements after Melbourne Metro. We’ll end up with even greater car dependency and road congestion.
The West Gate Tunnel fiasco could help tip the Andrews government out at this November’s election – a supreme irony given Labor’s fight against the East West Link.
Meanwhile, Matthew Guy has concocted a plan to “remove” 55 of Melbourne’s busiest road intersections. This commitment comes with no business case or any planning context whatsoever. This latest, desperate attempt at “congestion-busting” is doomed from the outset.
In any sensible world, the undoubtedly bad outcomes from Guy’s plan for the urban fabric, for public transport, for cyclists and for pedestrians would quickly put paid to such lunacy.
Not, I fear, in 21st-century Melbourne. As someone who has been involved at the highest level in Victoria as a transport planner for many years, I am thoroughly disgusted by the mess our politicians have created.
Efforts by planners like me over the years to engender some sanity in the process have been ignored. I feel as though my entire career has been in vain.
And so, although it makes no real difference to anyone else, I hereby refuse to associate myself with Victoria’s state government any more. I strongly encourage my fellow practitioners to join me in revolt, and to stop selling themselves out to a dysfunctional system. Our energies as a profession should instead go to sorting out the mess.
William McDougall is a transport planner with 40 years’ experience. He has advised Labor and Liberal state governments in Victoria on projects including Rod Eddington’s transport plan; the Rowville, Doncaster and airport rail links; the Metro Tunnel; and the West Gate Tunnel.
Vale Ron Tanberg
Say NO to West Gate Tunnel – rally for a sustainable Melbourne
Please share to your profile, page or group – Say NO to West Gate Tunnel – rally for a sustainable Melbourne – come along and show solidary for Melbourne’s west residents, as with Transurbans plans, the rest of us are under renewed threats from inappropriate road projects right across Melbourne!
This Sunday 17th December – 11am -1pm, Brooklyn Reserve, 26 Nolan Ave, Brooklyn
People are gathering to send a signal to the government that this type of infrastructure and the way they have planned it with Transurban is not the way to plan for a sustainable Melbourne. The same government has plans for more mega roads. Its time to stop and think before it is too late.