Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's up to Brumby to make public transport better, says expert

It's not often that I feel the need to comment on what I post from the newspapers, but a few facts up front. Sir Rod Eddington is on the Board of NewsCorp (who produce the HeraldSun). The deadline for responses is Jul 15th and the spin merchants know this. This is a very-cleverly written article, proffering the 'must have all the Eddington recommendations for it to work' concept, under the headline of investing in public transport.

We do need quick solutions... but building this tunnel would take over a decade. In my opinion, a better investment of time/money would be more focus upon public transport.

THE onus is on the Brumby Government to end Melburnians' love affair with their cars by investing in large public transport projects.

That's the view of international transport expert Sir Rod Eddington in a recorded chat with Premier John Brumby, posted online today.

The Government's challenge was to balance the demand for cars with a push for better public transport, Sir Rod said.

Any decision would come at a cost, he said.

"There's an opportunity now to put in place infrastructure, which children will be the beneficiaries of, albeit that we'll have to accept some short- and medium-term disruption while it's being put in place," he said.

Sir Rod, who released his East West Link Needs Assessment report in March, said commuters needed viable public transport if they were to get out of their cars.

"We know that the motor car has a couple of challenges against it," he said. "It's so important to our daily lives, it's at the heart of personal freedom in so many ways, and people love their cars and wish to use their cars for many different reasons.

"But we know if that's going to continue into the future, one, we need to make sure that the motor car substantially reduces its carbon footprint, and secondly, that in . . . areas where there's real congestion we've got strong public transport alternatives.

"And again that's going to require us to change our habits in some ways," he said.

"I think people are up for the challenge, but the infrastructure has to be in place to help them make it."

Mr Brumby agreed, acknowledging that "doing nothing" was not an option.

"If we're to tackle climate change, public transport and a more efficient transport system are going to be absolutely crucial in the way in which we achieve that," he said.

Commuters can respond to the video on the Premier's website in a forum between 9.30am and midday today.

They are encouraged to discuss Victoria's transport challenges and pose questions to the Government, which will record and consider them.

Mr Brumby said the Government had been given many ideas on how to spend taxpayers' money but he would not say how much it would spend on transport.

He said Sir Rod's report was the foundation of the Government's plan, but it would not necessarily adopt all of his recommendations.

Among the report's suggested projects is a $9 billion road tunnel linking the Eastern Freeway with the Tullamarine Freeway and an $8.5 billion rail tunnel between Caulfield and Footscray.

"I clearly looked at a particular piece of the jigsaw, and clearly you need to reflect on the jigsaw in its entirety," Sir Rod said.

"At the end of the day, it will be for you to strike the right balance."

Read the orig article at http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23985392-661,00.html

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