Anthony Albanese Media Release: Abbott blind spot on public transport. 23 January 2014
Recent progress on the Regional Rail Link is already showing the benefits that come from federal and state governments working together to fund urban public transport, Shadow Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese said today in Melbourne.
Visiting West Footscray station with Member for Gellibrand Tim Watts, Mr Albanese said that the Regional Rail Link had created thousands of jobs and would boost productivity, as well as reducing travel time for residents of Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
“Congestion is a handbrake on the economy, and right now it’s costing Australia $13 billion every year, making people’s commutes longer and hampering productivity” Anthony Albanese said.
“By refusing to fund public transport Tony Abbott is just making it worse. We know that just building more roads alone just means more congestion over time. You’ve got to have public transport as well.”
The Regional Rail Link is also benefitting drivers with 25,000 drivers using Anderson Road no longer waiting for trains at a Sunshine level crossing following its removal as part of the construction program.
The Regional Rail Link is Melbourne’s first new major rail line for 80 years.
The previous Federal Labor Government provided $3.2 billion funding for the project – the largest Commonwealth investment in urban public transport in Australia’s history.
Member for Gellibrand Tim Watts called on the Prime Minister to maintain funding for the Melbourne Metro, urging him not to cut the $3 billion that Labor included for the project in the 2013 Federal Budget.
“Denis Napthine said that a Federal Liberal Government was ‘prepared to have ongoing discussions on key infrastructure like the metro rail tunnel’ but Tony Abbott just isn’t listening” Tim Watts said.
“If the Prime Minister is serious about boosting our economy and improving quality of life he would maintain the funding for the Melbourne Metro.
“If he cuts the funding, he’s consigning every Victorian commuter to more congestion, and more time stuck in traffic instead of at home with their families.”
When complete, Regional Rail Link will provide capacity for an extra 23 metropolitan services during each morning and evening peak period, allowing more Victorians to use sustainable public transport.