Moonee Valley Leader: East West Link will ‘severely impact’ Moonee Valley’s traffic, noise, air pollution and parks, Mayor says. Michael Howard. 27 March 2014
East West Link’s advancement is an unstoppable force that a change of State Government can’t halt, according to its chief opponent.
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews told Moonee Valley Leader if Premier Denis Napthine fulfilled his promise to sign the tollway’s contracts before the State Election then it would proceed.
“If he stubbornly, arrogantly signs contracts a responsible government, a Labor government, has to honour those contracts,” Mr Andrews said.
Moonee Valley Council fronted the state’s independent assessment panel into the tollway last week, urging the panel’s members to tell Planning Minister Mathew Guy approvals for the project should not be granted.
Moonee Valley Mayor Jan Chantry said she feared the tollway would severely impact the city’s traffic, noise, air pollution and parks.
Mr Andrews called on Dr Napthine to delay signing contracts until after the November 29 election, but the Premier has vowed to proceed, with a shortlist of three consortia vying to deliver the project.
Mr Andrews said East West Link was “not the best project for our time” given funding limits, reinforcing his party’s commitment to public transport.
Mr Andrews’ alternative plan includes removing the city’s 50 worst level crossings, which he said could proceed in addition to the East West Link because the crossings would be funded by leasing the Port of Melbourne.
“Many people have died (at rail crossings). This is a very serious issue,” he said.
“They are very frustrating and real bottlenecks. If you can’t get rid of these you can’t run more services.”
The level crossing at Buckley St, Essendon, is among the 50 that would be removed.
Dr Andrews said the intersections were “all bad, and all would take some time”, but if elected they would do the worst first.
Mr Andrews’ public transport platform also includes allocating $300 million in 2015 to producing a plan for Melbourne Metro Rail, a bid to build five new stations and double the city loop to enable “more trains, more often”, and to run trains all night Fridays and Saturdays, a $50 million commitment he’s flagged Homesafe.
Dr Napthine said the link would “reduce chronic congestion issues and transform east west travel across Melbourne”.