Labor turns anti-tunnel
Ashley Gardiner, July 2, 2012 09:16PM
LABOR leader Daniel Andrews has declared his opposition to the Baillieu Government’s proposed east-west road tunnel. The idea, which had won the backing of Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, would not solve Melbourne’s traffic congestion, Labor said.
Mr Andrews’ opposition to the project quashes what could have been a major point of difference between Labor and the Greens in the upcoming Melbourne by-election.
Labor’s Jennifer Kanis is competing with Greens candidate Cathy Oke at the July 21 poll sparked by the retirement of former minister Bronwyn Pike. A spokeswoman for Mr Andrews last night said the Baillieu Government’s proposal was very different to what had been mooted previously.
“This is a grand hoax that will do nothing to ease Melbourne’s congestion,” spokeswoman Manika Naidoo said. “We absolutely don’t support it.”
Ms Naidoo said the Baillieu Government’s proposal would only redirect traffic congestion, not solve it.
In 2008, transport expert Sir Rod Eddington proposed a cross-city tunnel that did not provide access to the city. But the Baillieu Government was considering providing exit ramps from the new link into the city, which would help maximise toll revenue. If completed, the road would go from the Eastern Freeway to CityLink, through the docks area, under Footscray and link to the Western Ring Rd. Senior Labor MP Richard Wynne, the member for Richmond, also said the east-west tunnel was a hoax.
“This is just some pathetic attempt to drive some wedge because we’ve got a by-election going on,” Mr Wynne said.
“The only way this road can even possibly work is if it has on and off ramps going into the city, at either Lygon or Nicholson Street.”
A spokesman for Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said such projects were guided by Infrastructure Australia.
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