Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Eddington tunnel 'fails' on emissions

SIR Rod Eddington's plan to build a road tunnel from Footscray to Clifton Hill will only make transport emissions worse, a Government-appointed watchdog has found.

And in a report released today, Victoria's sustainability commissioner, Ian McPhail, warns that Melbourne's car dependence could mean serious social breakdown if oil prices continue to rise.

Emissions from transport have shot up in Victoria since 2003, while emissions from other areas have dropped. Transport is responsible for 17% of Victoria's greenhouse emissions.

And, in a frank assessment of Sir Rod's Investing in Transport study — which proposes $20 billion worth of transport projects, including the $9 billion road tunnel — Dr McPhail said Sir Rod was either "unable or unwilling" to consider a shift towards public transport.

Sir Rod, in his recommendations for Melbourne, found the number of car trips would not decline "in the decades ahead".

But Dr McPhail said this view could prove ill-founded, particularly with the CSIRO predicting petrol would rise as high as $8 a litre within a decade.

"It is disappointing that Eddington's view is of a future that is fundamentally business as usual," Dr McPhail said.

His report called for new suburban train lines, extension of tram lines, and more bus services.

It also found the Government should investigate "regenerative braking" on trams and trains, which reuses some of the energy used to brake as power, as happens with hybrid cars.

A third of Melbourne's trains have the potential to redirect energy from braking back into the overhead cabling.

Dr McPhail also called on the Government to run trains and trams off green power, a switch that would add between $15 million and $20 million a year to the current $40 million cost of powering them.

Read the original article at TheAge.com.au

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