Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Roads plan raises new truck route fears

NEW laws that would see some Melbourne roads prioritised for tram, bus, bicycle, pedestrian or freight use have alarmed local councils, who see them as an attempt to ram through new heavy truck routes.

- Truck highways fears
- Trams, buses, bikes to get priority
- Move to unblock public transport routes

The changes would give the State Government power to prioritise transport types on all public roads across the state.

A new VicRoads register would be established, listing how roads had been prioritised and the laws could mean new bus or bike lanes on a local road or the sudden appearance of massive freight trucks.

The local government sector is concerned about a lack of detail in the new laws and the potential for new truck highways through suburbs.

The proposed laws before the State Parliament would give Roads Minister Tim Pallas the power to prioritise bicycle, pedestrian and freight roads. The Roads Minister and Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky would have the power to prioritise roads for trams and buses.

The only check would be that if the public road were a municipal road there must be consultation with the Local Government Minister. There is no mention of the local council.

Municipal Association of Victoria chief executive Rob Spence has written to Mr Pallas requesting more details on the laws.

"We are talking about heavy vehicles, that is the real tension point in our sector," he said. "There has been no discussion with us on the detail of this at all."...

Read the whole article at TheAge.com.au

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