A first look at the east-west link impact statement raises more questions than it answers. from Farrah Tomazin The Sunday Age’s State Poitical Editor.
If you’ve ever watched the state government’s animated videos spruiking the east-west link, you could be forgiven for thinking that once the tunnel is built, Melbourne will become a traffic utopia: a congestion-free network of seamless roads and clear blue skies, where cars drive around in an orderly fashion to the sound of soothing guitar melodies.
Until recently, the justification for the $8 billion tunnel consisted of this type of imagery, along with a handful of press releases and a ”short form” business case that looked more like a glossy pamphlet than a rigorous analysis of the project. Now, after months of criticism over its lack of transparency, the government has finally released the Comprehensive Impact Statement for the link.
It gives Victorians the first real glimpse of the implications: from traffic flows and contamination risks, to land acquisition and social impacts.
It’s extraordinarily detailed and hard to digest, yet even once you’ve sifted through the report in a bid to separate the substance from the spin, you’re still left wondering: Does the project actually stack up?