Neither of the Major Parties intend to build Metro

Two articles published independently yesterday show just how corrrupt transport policy has become.

Alan Davies, at the Urbanist, argues in Is Labor Genuine About Building Melbourne Metro that neither party has any intention of starting the Metro project in the next term. The Liberal’s realignment to suit the propoerty developers in Montague means that the 50 million planning over the last four years has to be restarted. Labor is using the level crossings as an excuse to delay the project. In any case, it would require a change or heart in the Abbot Governemnt (or a change of governmnet) to get federal funding for a rail project. Even if that was forthcoming, both parties are now committing to signing the East-West’ Link $18 billion cheque for $1million per metre, bankrupting the city for a generation.

Also published yesterday was an article in The Conversation by Associate Professor Philip Laird of the University of Wollongong called Australia’s transport is falling behind on energy efficiency. Laired is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and a Companion of the Institution of Engineers.

Laird reports that in a recent OECD study, Australia ranked last of 16 countries for transport efficiency. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we are the only country that is actualy going backward. The reason? we are trasferring more transport from rail back to road.

“During 2011-12, cars, buses and trucks used nearly 32 billion litres of petrol, diesel, and LPG. By way of contrast, rail used 1.67 billion litres of diesel (or its electricity equivalent) in a year for a smaller passenger task but a larger freight task than road. This reflects the fact that rail is much more energy efficient than road transport to move people and freight.” All our investment (runnning at $20b per year) is now going into roads.

These reports come on top of the Auditor General, John Doyle’s report that said there were 1483 deaths related to air pollution in 2012, a leap from 882 deaths in 2005. At the same time, 20 other countries, including the United Kingdom, United States and Germany, had decreases in their pollution-related death. Mr Doyle cited a 2014 Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report that suggested this was due to stricter vehicle emissions in those countries.  The cost of these pollution-related deaths to Australia was $5.8 billion in 2010. It was estimated that 50 per cent could be attributed to air pollution from road transport, the Auditor General’s report said.  [Deborah Gough, The Age, August 20]

Australia is not just at the bottom of the class, but we are also the only country going backwards.

Chris Goodman, YCAT