Victorian election 2014: East West Link: the burning issue

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The Age: Victorian election 2014: East West Link: the burning issue. November 13, 2014 Jane Lee, Sian Johnson, Luke Costin

Tracy Monkivith, who is in favour of the East West Link. Photo: Eddie Jim

FOR

Tracy Monkivitch, 51 Templestowe
Ms Monkivitch has watched the traffic grow steadily over the years during her daily 45-minute bus commute from Templestowe into the city.

“I wouldn’t drive. I used to years ago. It wasn’t as congested or backed up as much as it is now. It’s terrible,” the project manager says.

The East West Link will help drivers and bus passengers like her get to work faster, she says. Ms Monkivitch is not concerned about the future toll: “It’s a road that’s desperately needed because we don’t have any railway network from the Templestowe side. The only way [to get to work] is by bus or car.”

Dettit Amit, 41, St Albans

Mr Amit thinks Melbourne’s roads and railways pale in comparison to those of most of the world’s major cities.

“There are not enough links. I experience this very often – if there’s one major accident on any of the arterials, every road within a 10-kilometre radius will be impacted,” he says.

The engineer’s daily commute to and from Richmond can take up to an hour, which means he is sometimes late picking up his two children from school.

“It makes me very unreliable, and the last thing I want to do is sit in traffic for two hours.”

He is not worried about the loss the project is forecast to make: “I think it’s the price we have to pay and if it means we have to arrange taxes to fund it [so be it].”

AGAINST

Ezgi Bridger, 19, Balwyn North

Ms Bridger will be voting on state issues for the first time in the election.

She relies on public transport to get to classes in the city, where she is studying a Bachelor of Environmental Studies, and she thinks improving public transport should be the focus.

“I am pretty disappointed with the fact the Napthine government wants to invest in roads as opposed to public transport,” she said.

“As a young voter and a young person, I’m looking for strong policy that’s going to positively impact on my future – and building a road is not one of those policies.”

Govind Kartha, 47 Narre Warren

Mr Kartha will vote for the Liberals, but he has reservations about the East West Link.

“My only worry is the amount of money spent on just one project, which might throttle other areas,” he said. “I’m proud of my city being labelled the most liveable city, and I believe public transport is very, very important in maintaining the liveability of a city.”

Mr Kartha, who has a wife and two children, works for a building services consultancy and often drives into the inner city. Despite his concerns about the East West Link, he says he mostly identifies with the Liberal Party’s ideology and values.

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