Roads to nowhere – by William McDougall

YCAT is re-posting this important and damning letter by senior transport planner William McDougall, published in the SMH and The Sunday Age, Jan 7th 2018.

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.

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. Continue Reading…

Why is the Lung Cancer rate increasing?

Lung cancer rates are increasing in people who have never smoked, according to two new studies presented here at the 16th World Conference on Lung Cancer.

Lung cancer is broken into Small Cell (decreasing and almost exclusively a smokers disease) Non Small Cell  NSCLC (This has several subtypes which are categorised by their histologies).  Adenocarcinoma is the one which is rising and affecting increasing proportion of non-smokers.  When you look at Adenocarcinoma alone the stats are much higher than all NSCLCs combined.  Figures below combine both.

Australia now has the highest incidence of cancer in the world, surpassing Amercia. This includes all cancers.  [WHO]. Highest mortality from cancer in Australia is lung cancer. [Cancer Statistics Australia].

In fact, at one institution, the incidence of never-smokers diagnosed with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) jumped from 13% to 28% during a 6-year period, Eric Lim, MD, from the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust in London, United Kingdom, and colleagues report in their study. And many of these patients initially presented with advanced-stage disease.

The second study demonstrated that the incidence of lung cancer in never-smokers is increasing in the United States. This was observed in three facilities, most significantly for NSCLC. At one institution, for example, the rate of never-smokers climbed from 8.9% in 1990–1995 to 19.5% in 2011–2013.

“When we think of lung cancer, we think of smoking,” Dr Lim noted. But antismoking strategies implemented in the early 1980s have led to a decrease in smoking-related lung cancer.

Instead, “what we are seeing is an increase in the incidence of nonsmoking-related lung cancer,” he explained during a press briefing. “We have seen more than double the amount of patients coming to us.” Continue Reading…

Victorian taxpayers dodged a bullet

Independent.ie: Toll firms paid €28m to compensate for lack of traffic (14 August 2015)
In Ireland, private toll companies have been paid €28m ($A 42m ) by the State to compensate them for less-than-anticipated traffic on two motorways.

The sum is a result of so-called “traffic guarantee” clauses inserted in the contracts for building the stretch of the M3 from Clonee to Kells and the N7 Limerick Tunnel.

The clauses mean the State pays more to the motorway operators when fewer cars or trucks use the roads.

According to an internal Department of Transport briefing document, the guarantees were introduced to address the worst case scenario of “what if no cars drive on the road” and were needed to attract bidders for the public private partnerships.

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