Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Is this our future? - TheAge

Paul Austin
...It was in May 2006, that Brumby's predecessor, Steve Bracks, announced as part of his grand transport plan that $5 million would be spent commissioning an "east-west needs assessment" by international transport guru Sir Rod Eddington.

Sir Rod's brief was to advise on new transport connections between the Western Ring Road and the Eastern Freeway. The headline recommendation in his report, released in April this year, was a road tunnel from the west to the Eastern Freeway. That tunnel came to symbolise in the public mind what the Eddington Report was all about.

Yesterday's plan was the Government's response to Eddington (and a lot more besides). But guess what? The most compelling part of Eddington is not even in Brumby's plan, which we are assured is a blueprint for the state through to 2021.

Cabinet has determined that all the other plans and projects listed in the Brumby plan are more important than Eddington's tunnel.

The Brumby plan makes considerable sense as a staged "closing the gap" exercise, particularly on the road network. So the roadblock at the end of EastLink is dealt with via a ring road around Frankston to Mount Martha. There will be a new road tunnel under the Maribyrnong, a "competitor" to the West Gate Bridge. Provision is made for an outer metropolitan ring road (starting at Avalon Airport and going around to the Hume Highway). And there is a commitment to build the "missing link" in the metropolitan ring road, to join the Eastern.

But a direct east-west road connection becomes the new "missing link". Brumby's message to those long-suffering commuters coming in on the Eastern is that his plan will do more for them than the Eddington tunnel ever would. It's an argument sure to test their patience.

The premier points out that the Eddington recommendation was for a tunnel with no off-ramps into central Melbourne. Brumby says, the "bulk" of the people queueing up at the end of the Eastern each morning are not trying to drive through to the west, but rather are edging towards the left lanes to turn south into Hoddle Street.

There's the next bottleneck. So guess what? Brumby announced yesterday as part of his grand transport plan that $5 million would be spent commissioning a north-south needs assessment, to advise on ways to free-up traffic flows down Hoddle Street, probably involving tunnels or fly-overs. And so the cycle continues, as successive governments try to keep up with the transport needs of a rapidly growing city. It is an endless work-in-progress...

Read the whole article at TheAge.com.au

Quite an obvious take on the VTP - that a LOT of it is asterisked that it is dependent upon Commonwealth funding. Even so, it is still concerning the amount of pro-East West Link car tunnel rhetoric that is still out there.

No comments: