“Sadly, it seems clear that the Coalition has made the east-west link its top transport priority, not because it would be the most effective way of spending $8 billion on solving Melbourne’s transport problems, but because it sees it as an issue to wedge Labor, at federal and state level, between its inner-city and outer-suburban voters.”
By Tim Colebatch, The Age Economics Editor, July 23 2013
“I’ll urge Kevin Rudd to come down to Melbourne and .. . stand at the top of Hoddle Street and have a look at the Eastern Freeway between 7.30 and 8am and I think he’ll get his chequebook out.”
Premier Denis Napthine, July 16.
It’s a good idea for political leaders to inspect Melbourne’s transport problems. I would urge Dr Napthine, with Treasurer Michael O’Brien and Transport Minister Terry Mulder, to follow his own advice, and begin their own study tour.
They should ask each council to name its worst area of congestion. Then they could spend half an hour every morning visiting each in turn, getting briefed by the city engineer and Better Roads Victoria on the causes of the congestion, its consequences, and potential solutions.
They could mix this with strap-hanging on peak-hour trains, trams and buses, hear the experiences of passengers, and note how well the actual running meets the timetable.
Then, after all that, they could go back to the intersection of Hoddle Street and the Eastern Freeway, and ask themselves how it compares with all the other congestion they have seen. Is this really Melbourne’s worst transport problem?
Is it so much worse than anything else in the city that we need to spend the lion’s share of road funding for the next six years to move the congestion point 4.4 kilometres west?
That is the real question with which the government has presented us. And it has not persuaded us that the answer is yes.
“We need a thorough study of where our scarce resources would be best spent. This road would waste those resources”.