You Thought The East West Link Was Dead, Right? Well Think Again
March 4, 2015
From Senator Janet Rice, published in NewMatilda 4 Mar 2015
The Victorian Liberals were cast from office in large part over East West Link. Labor needs to kill, bury and cremate it as well, writes Janet Rice*.
Melbourne’s population is growing, congestion is increasing and we need to do something to fix it. Do we keep travelling the old, tired, expensive route? Or do we change course to a cleaner, cheaper option?
The Napthine government’s loss in what Tony Abbott described as the “referendum on the East West Link” was a win for the cleaner and cheaper option. As was the new Daniel Andrews government’s commitment to building the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.
Despite this, Tony Abbott refuses to fund anything resembling sensible, congestion-busting public transport.
And lurking in the shadows is the western half of the East West Link.
This concept is a hangover from Sir Rod Eddington’s ‘East West Link Needs Assessment’ report, which was completed in 2008 for the Brumby government.
The report called for both the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel and the East West Link, and Eddington believed that the western section of the toll road was the priority.
The Labor government agreed and planning proceeded at full speed, until they were turfed out of office.
Since winning last year’s state election, Labor have dodged the issue of this part of the toll road. We’re told it isn’t part of their plan “for this term”, but they “would never say never”.
At Senate Estimates in Canberra last week, the Department of Infrastructure let out that Victorian Labor is “yet to provide any formal advice to the Australian government on their commitment to the project”.
And while Labor leaves the door ajar for East West Link, the way we use transport in this city is making the idea obsolete. Continue Reading…