Thursday, July 17, 2008

Transport giants back $9.5b tunnel

Is it just me, or is everyone else noticing that the papers (Herald Sun, Leader Group) that are produced by NewsCorp (who has Sir Rod Eddington as a board member), seem to run a lot of these...

VICTORIA'S biggest transport companies have backed construction of a $9.5 billion road tunnel through the city's inner north.

The Herald Sun has seen submissions on the proposal by international transport expert Sir Rod Eddington to build Melbourne's biggest infrastructure project.

Toll road operator ConnectEast, trucking giant Linfox, the RACV and the Transport Workers Union are adamant new roads must be built to cope with the state's population spurt.

ConnectEast, operator of Melbourne's newest toll road EastLink, says it wants to build the tunnel and claims it can be done at no cost to the Government.

But it would come at a cost to motorists - more tolls.

The company says the EastLink model is an ideal example of how major infrastructure upgrades could be delivered within budget and with minimal disruption to parklands and little impact on the environment.

"Indeed, the EastLink project has delivered considerable enhancements to public facilities along the length of the EastLink corridor," the ConnectEast Group said.

It calls on Victorians to back Sir Rod's recommendations.

"The community must be careful not to focus solely on the risk and threats posed by developments," it said.

"It must also take account of the opportunities they can provide and the positive benefits they bring."

The sentiments were backed by Linfox, the state's biggest trucking firm.

Linfox executive chairman Peter Fox said it was vital the tunnel and new roads in the inner west, as recommended by Sir Rod, were built to ease congestion and reduce costs to consumers.

"Over recent years, Linfox has become increasingly concerned by growing congestion issues in and around Melbourne's road network," Mr Fox said.

"Linfox handles more than 80 per cent of Australia's fast-moving consumer goods at one point or another through the supply-chain cycle.

"To the extent that many of these items are purchased off supermarket shelves, most Victorians inadvertently feel the effect of traffic congestion by consequently paying for this lost productivity through higher consumer prices."

Transport Workers Union state secretary Bill Noonan said construction of a road tunnel was an "absolute must".

But Mr Noonan said the union also supported construction of an elevated road over the Maribyrnong River to provide an alternative freight route to the congested Francis St in Yarraville.

"Each and every major city in the world has a major ring road and we've got a huge city here with a huge transport task," he said....

Read the rest of the article (and don't forget the comments section at the base of it) here -,21985,24032222-2862,00.html

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