Friday, September 19, 2008

Tunnel Vision Backed - pg 32 of Herald Sun

Mary Bolling - Public Transport Reporter

A PROPOSAL for an east-west Melbourne rail tunnel should be given top priority for federal government transport funding, according to an influential lobby group.

The Tourism and Transport Forum list calls for major federal investment in five key capital city transport projects, and included a long wish-list for Victoria.

The forum document, released yesterday as the Victorian Government finalises its 30-year transport plan, also calls for an east-west road tunnel, proposed along with the rail tunnel in Sir Rod Eddington's East-West needs Assessment.

Another 12 trains and bringing forward a proposed rail extension to South Morang area also on the wish list.

Forum national transport manager Stewart Prins said the Federal Government had set aside $20 billion for infrastructure spending and public transport should be at the top of the shopping list.

"With rising fuel prices, peak oil (production) and greenhouse gass emissions placing new demands on urban transport networks, it is vital that a significant proportion of this money be spent on transport projects," he said.

"Funding is needed for projects to expand the capacity of Melbourne's public transport network so it can carry more people, especially during the increasing crowded peak hours."

Spokesman for the Federal Department of Infrastructure said that the fund would be operational by January 1 of next year.

The first allocations will be made in 2009-10.

The State Government is to release its Victorian Transport Plan in November.

Premier John Brumby has previously flagged that Victoria should be allocated at least a quarter of the $20 billion federal fund.

You can read this article on Pg 32 of Friday Sept 19th's Herald Sun. Curiously, it isn't available online.

No comments: