Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Return on investment

So, we want to move 100,000 people from the East into the city. Every day.

Spend $850M on rail (also taking them off the Eastern Freeway in the process so making it easier for people have have to drive for whatever reason). An extra $300M would link it to the Metro rail tunnel in Parkville.


Spend $5B to $9B on an East-West car tunnel, which would bring more cars.

Seems easy doesn't it?  Even if the $850M is concervative, you're still talking about a big difference in money, and in outcomes.

Read here - http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/doncaster-railway-line-could-be-built-for-840m-20120723-22kpg.html

Friday, July 20, 2012

Infrastructure Australia suggests a way to get funding

FREEWAYS could be sold to the private sector and converted to tollways under a radical proposal for state governments to raise money for expensive new road and rail links.
The proposal, if adopted in Victoria, could lead to major roads such as the Eastern Freeway, the West Gate Freeway and the Western Ring Road being privatised and tolled.
The proceeds of the freeway sell-offs could then be used to build infrastructure such as hospitals, the Melbourne metro rail network, the missing link of Melbourne's outer ring road, and the proposed East-West link under Melbourne's inner north.
 A spokeswoman for state Treasurer Kim Wells told The Age: ''The Victorian government stands by its position that existing roads will not be tolled.'But the proposal - contained in a report by Infrastructure Australia, the independent federal government advisory body chaired by Sir Rod Eddington - is being resisted by the Baillieu government.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Age - Drill sites give clue to future path of road tunnel

In an application to Melbourne City Council the Baillieu government is requesting approval for 13 test drilling sites in Royal Park and surrounding suburbs to plan for the multibillion-dollar project.
In an indication of its preferred route for the tunnel, maps show the drill sites run in a direct line from Alexandra Parade under the Melbourne Cemetery and Royal Park.
At the back of the indicative route the drill sites split, suggesting locations for inbound and outbound connections to CityLink in Royal Park and nearby neighbourhoods....
...The tunnel project has emerged as one of the major issues in the upcoming by-election for the state seat of Melbourne being fought between Labor and the Greens.Deputy Labor leader James Merlino said last night that Ted Baillieu ''can play charades all he likes but the simple facts are he is proposing to drill holes on an unfunded project that is unlikely to ever be built, while road congestion in Melbourne worsens''.
Greens leader Greg Barber said Labor's opposition to the tunnel was expedient and for the cost of the project Melbourne could have a ''dream public transport system''.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/drill-sites-give-clue-to-future-path-of-road-tunnel-20120708-21pjp.html#ixzz204oAgUIh
This is one of the key differentiators between the previous (Labor) State Government's suggestions for the East-West Tunnel, and the current (Liberal) State Government's suggestion.  It appears links from the tunnel headed into the city could be likely onto Flemington Road, or thereabouts.  Or, alternatively, that second path could be part of a continuation to eventually link up with routes in the west.

And we all know the proposed route of THAT side of East-West Link last proposal.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Herald Sun : Labor turns anti-tunnel

It appears they've listened...

LABOR leader Daniel Andrews has declared his opposition to the Baillieu Government's proposed east-west road tunnel.
The idea, which had won the backing of Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, would not solve Melbourne's traffic congestion, Labor said.
Mr Andrews' opposition to the project quashes what could have been a major point of difference between Labor and the Greens in the upcoming Melbourne by-election...
A spokeswoman for Mr Andrews last night said the Baillieu Government's proposal was very different to what had been mooted previously.
"This is a grand hoax that will do nothing to ease Melbourne's congestion," spokeswoman Manika Naidoo said. "We absolutely don't support it."
Ms Naidoo said the Baillieu Government's proposal would only redirect traffic congestion, not solve it.

 Read more here - http://m.news.com.au/VIC/pg/0/fi1699353.htm

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Abbot pledges to fund 30% of East-West link tunnel

So there.  He's said it.
TONY Abbott will today promise to spend $1.5 billion to kick-start the East West Link tunnel if he becomes prime minister.

The $5 billion tunnel is expected to carry 100,000 vehicles a day and transform Melbourne's transport network by providing a new cross-town route.Mr Abbott's pledge gives the green light to Victoria's most significant road project.
The announcement gives him the jump on the Gillard Government which was expected to announce funding later this year.
In an effort to boost his stocks in Victoria, Mr Abbott has promised federal money for the 18km link.
"I'm proud that an elected Coalition government in Canberra will help Ted Baillieu deliver a vital road project that will speed up the trip to and from work, that boosts productivity and means more time at home with family," Mr Abbott told the Herald Sun.
The link between Eastern Freeway and Western Ring Rd also needs money from the Victorian Government and private sector, which seems likely to mean it will be tolled.
Premier Ted Baillieu welcomed Mr Abbott's pledge.
"The Victorian Government considers the east-west link a priority project that will transform Melbourne in a way we have not seen since CityLink was completed," he said...

So where to from here?  Let them know how you feel.  Or do you want yet another road like the above to be built,  filling and choking within months, weeks or even days.

Yes, the Federal Government should fund infrastructure.  But certainly not more roads.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A message from Adam Bandt

Dear friends,

I am writing with some good news fresh from the federal budget lock-up.

The Federal Government has heeded our call and refused to fund Ballieu's dirty and expensive toll road. It's a great win for our campaign -- congratulations!

We know the State Government is ready to start drilling but it's going to be a lot harder and take a lot longer without federal backing, as Baillieu said himself tonight.

It's a boost to our campaign to bring smarter and cleaner transport 
infrastructure to Melbourne. We know there is a problem with transport in our city but the last thing we need is a private toll road from Hoddle Street right through Fitzroy, Carlton and North Melbourne to the Kensington, Docklands and Footscray 
area. Whether it's above or below ground, it will disrupt our communities without relieving the congestion.

Building the Doncaster rail link would go some way to alleviating the congestion coming in from the East and help transform Melbourne into a world-class public transport city. That's where I want our federal infrastructure dollars being spent and that's what I'll continue to campaign for.

We've still got a lot of work to do to win this campaign but I wanted to 
share this great with news as soon as I could.

Looking forward to continuing to work with you to keep Melbourne liveable,


Adam Bandt MP

Federal Member for Melbourne

Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens
And Ted Baillieu's response to the Federal budget is viewable here - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-08/ted-baillieu27s-budget-wishlist/3998714?section=vic 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Herald-Sun : Ten more years of stress until tunnel takes the pressure off

LONG-suffering Melbourne drivers face at least another 10 years of chronic and worsening congestion before work is completed on a major tunnel project to clear Eastern Freeway traffic out of city streets.

Government sources said this week the Baillieu Government was "red hot" about making a start on the immense $9 billion project that would rival CityLink and the railway City Loop in its scope.
The 18km tolled road link could slash cross-town traffic levels through Fitzroy and Brunswick as well as down Hoddle St, and bring major benefits to Melbourne's western suburbs.
But despite committing $15 million in last week's Budget to start work on a business case for the project, the Government is facing huge difficulties in obtaining funding because of the economic downturn and Federal Government spending cutbacks.
Under the project - recommended four years ago by infrastructure consultant Sir Rod Eddington - a tunnel would be built to allow Eastern Freeway traffic to drive to CityLink without stopping, and then continue to the Western Ring Road near the Deer Park bypass.
Read the whole article here - http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/ten-more-years-of-stress-until-tunnel/story-fn7x8me2-1226347630709

With a headline like that, it appears the Herald Sun want the casual observer to think it's a done deal.  As you read, it's more like they're attempting to gather support for the East-West link.  And it's support they know they already have.  After all, the traffic has got worse in the last 3 years, and will continue to do so.

What this actually has actually done is cherry-pick the old content from the Eddington Report that suggested the use of an East-West road link.  (The Eddington Report included the Tarneit Rail line, the Metro Rail Tunnel and many other suggestions also). Indeed, even the budgets they quote were from that original report - which many believe were underscoped four years ago. And it states 'tunnel' where more recent discussion incorporates the potential for more (or all) of it to be elevated roadway.

The arguments for funding this road-based solution to Melbourne's transport woes are as flawed as they've always been.  Sure, it will help the tiny percentage of people who would be making the trip all the way from the east to the west (and west to east, of course).  But, an overwhelming majority of travellers use our freeways to come into the CBD. These works would move the choke points to another off-ramp.  And, as has been evidenced by the works which have occurred on the M1-Westgate Fwy-CityLink, if you build it, it will fill.  And once full, it becomes frustrating and ineffective.

The recent announcement by the state government is to fund yet another report.  But this one will include some test drilling (core samples) to ascertain the nature of the geology where they'd like to build the link.  (Similar has been happening near JJ Holland Park a few months back, for the purposes of the aforementioned underground Metro Rail line, from Footscray through to Parkville and then down to Domain).

What else hasn't changed is the dependence upon Federal funding to make this occur.  The Federal Government provides funding for huge infrastructure developments such as these - even with another Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, it's highly unlikely the funding could be secured without Federal assistance, as with the GFC, key PPP players are less likely to invest in long term, low return projects.  The Federal Government has denied funding this in the past, and has been more amenable to funding public transport based solutions (even so, the Metro Tunnel remains on the backburner).

So what has changed?  Traffic has got worse - which is no surprise, as they're building more new suburbs further out, with no effective public transport support, and a shiny new EastLink freeway to feed people on to it - and the freeways from the South East and the West, with their recent works have, again, encouraged more use than their improvements have solved.

The costs will have changed.  The $9M figure quoted was from the original Eddington Report.  Four years ago, this was largely believed to be inaccurate, and insufficient.  And that was in today's money in 2008. In 2012, it's likely to cost a lot more, and as the years go by, that true figure would increase significantly.  And again, all for little real benefit.

What else has changed?  The State Government.  And, as this week's budget announcements have shown, they're keen to get things done - regardless of whether that thing is right, or if it's wrong.  And the future, with Federal politics they way they currently are, who knows?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

TheAge - Government fixated on the costly east-west link

The State Government has earmarked funds in its budget for the (next) required study to be made for the East-West road link.
Completely ignored is the far more cost-effective option of a rail line to Doncaster up the middle of the Eastern Freeway, which could take far more commuters right into the city where most want to go while reducing congestion and probably at greater speed with less stress. Two studies by the previous government failed to make a case for the new link. In fact, a cost benefit study showed that every dollar spent on the link would return benefits (social, economic and financial) of only 50¢ Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/government-fixated-on-the-costly-eastwest-link-20120501-1xx9q.html#ixzz1tenNspp1
Federal Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, has scheduled a public meeting tonight at the Dan O'Connell (which could be at risk if the East-West link was to go through. Details here on facebook.

The Kensington Association also have a sizeable proportion of their home page currently dedicated to the topic. http://www.kensingtonassociation.org.au/

Friday, April 6, 2012

Rod speaks, again

Some more in TheAge this morning, reiterating about the prospect of an elevated solution, and now Sir Rod Eddington saying things have got worse since he made his suggestions last time. However, one of the other key players has again thrown their cap into the ring.
...Yarra Council passed a resolution on Tuesday night to place signage ''in prominent locations along Alexandra Parade seeking public support for the Doncaster railway line and public opposition to the east-west road tunnel''. City of Yarra mayor Geoff Barbour said the council did not want the new freeway. ''We don't believe that it will actually solve the problems that are facing Yarra City,'' he said. Cr Barbour said he was disappointed that the state government had yet to consult with the council on the proposed freeway connection. The Baillieu government is expected to announce its intention regarding the proposed freeway later this year. Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/council-takes-aim-at-baillieu-freeway-link-plan-20120405-1wfkh.html#ixzz1rCmTKIGc

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Story from Channel Seven news

Microwaved ideas?

An article in The Age about an East-West Link solution.  Sounds like the same meal served last time, although a little more stale and dried out.  

Read the article here -

Having been through it all before, many of the same arguments are coming up again.  Industry, RACV and some unions are backing.  Transport experts disagree, and a 'second source' suggests that the slightly revised strategy makes a mockery of Eddington's original ideas and
"Infrastructure Australia would no more put money into this than fly to the moon".

So what's changed?

Firstly, they're contemplating tunnel and/or above ground.  Well, that was something that was suggested last time too, for the continuation of the link west of JJ Holland Park - it's just noone really spoke about that.  (Well, we did, and our friends at No Tunnels in the West etc did).  But, it could have a significantly higher proportion of it above ground.

Secondly, they too suggest building in stages, however the first stage would be linking the Eastern Freeway to CityLink (Tullamarine Freeway).  (This is the aspect the 'second source' thinks is folly).

But most importantly for us, the political climate has significantly changed.

Previously, once they were made aware of the feelings for their constituents, the City of Melbourne were staunchly against the proposal.  We believe this was on a number of grounds, including the belief that this solution would in fact funnel more traffic into the city, as well as the loss of amenity for residents.  But now, The Age are reporting that the City of Melbourne have no "formal view".

Secondly, our Federal member was Lindsay Tanner, the then Minister of Finance, who needed to bankroll the link.  Now, it is Adam Bandt, who is staunchly against the prospect of the East-West Link on many fronts.

So what can you do?
If you are concerned, we suggest you contact the City of Melbourne and voice your opinion of the suggestions.  You may also want to contact Adam Bandt as your Federal Representative, and Bronwyn Pike as your State Representative, to provide your support for their oppostion (assuming Bronwyn Pike's view has not changed).

It seems ludicrous that the state government should build this 'major road infrastructure' just because their other ones are close to completion, when train line extensions, the metro tunnel, and even the potential for the Doncaster line and widespread removal of level crossings would greatly increase the movement of Melburnians in general, and actually help with traffic flow.