The Age Letters – Missing in action: Climate change

The Age Letters – Missing in action: Climate change (10th December, 2008)

The latest Victorian transport plan is a profound disappointment, offering more of the same: continued investment in the very roads that are choking our city and causing congestion (neatly put as joining up the “missing links”). There is also the obligatory lip service about improving public transport, but substantial expansion of the rail system is put off until another day.

What is astonishing is the absence of any commitment to reducing greenhouse emissions. A transport plan worth $40 billion should have substantial reduction of carbon emissions as its primary commitment, not some wishy-washy footnote about more efficient vehicles.

At a time when Victoria’s environment is under extreme stress and the world recognises the need for urgent action on climate change, we should expect a serious response from the Brumby Government. Sadly, it appears that the real “missing link” in Victoria’s transport planning is the link between transport and climate change.

John Cox, Fitzroy

Go up, not under

John Brumby should swap his impossibly expensive rail subway for a high-capacity monorail network. The Okinawa monorail was built by Hitachi for $27 million a kilometre in 2003. A 15-kilometre monorail from Footscray to Caulfield via Kings Way and Queens Road would probably cost under $500 million — a far cry from the $4.9 billion for half a subway. Systems such as the Tokyo and Tama monorails provide serious high-capacity public transport over the gridlock on the ground. Unlike subways, monorails are quick and easy to build — monorails to Highpoint, Doncaster and Chadstone could be built in time for the next election in 2010.

Alan Ide, Murrumbeena

Compensate those who lose

Where major public transport infrastructure works are constructed for the benefit of wide sections of Melbourne’s population, it ought to follow that those adversely affected by these works should be compensated.

Victorian law makes no provision for payments to affected people unless their land is compulsorily acquired. Families that end up with a new freeway, rail link or upgraded road on their doorstep are likely to suffer a loss of amenity and a fall in the value of their homes. But unless any parts of their property are actually taken, they will not be compensated. This does not seem equitable.

The State Government should enact legislation to make sure that business and community gain is not achieved partly at the expense of those who live next door to the proposed new infrastructure.

Chris Booton, Footscray

Spinning us right round

We need real transport improvements, not just spin and imaginary plans. Periodically wheeling out the spin since it was elected in 1999 has been a winning formula for Labor, which despite our public transport chaos after all its years in government, would be re-elected today with a handy majority. It’s no wonder the Premier’s PR budget has increased 400 per cent since 2001. To rub salt into the wounds of public transport commuters, they are going to be hit with increased taxes to fund Brumby’s spin.

George Finlay, Balaclava

We’re locals and we vote

Just a reminder to the Brumby Government that the transport plan will have devastating consequences for those who reside in the traditional Labour heartland. The inner-west demographic is changing, with young families moving into the area. I expect to see higher incidences of asthma, allergies and other health issues among the children of West Footscray and surrounding areas due to the pollution from those massive trucks the road is being built especially for, not to mention the noise pollution we will suffer. All this plan has done is move the truck problem from one inner-west suburb to another. Brumby will find out how unhappy we all are at the next election.

Mina Hilson, West Footscray