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Author Topic: Article: Melbourne needs $18b spent on transport  (Read 1314 times)

Online ozbob

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Article: Melbourne needs $18b spent on transport
« on: April 02, 2008, 08:16:02 PM »
From Channel 9 News click here!

Melbourne needs $18b spent on transport

Quote
Melbourne needs $18b spent on transport
Wednesday Apr 2 18:59 AEDT

The biggest infrastructure project in Melbourne's history has been proposed to avoid a potential transport crisis.

A year-long study by transport expert Sir Rod Eddington proposes an $18 billion, 10-year program of road and rail tunnels, extensions of existing rail lines and a plan to keep heavy vehicles from clogging suburban streets.

The report comes as Victoria's population is forecast to reach 6.2 million by 2020.

The Victorian capital is expected to take over from Sydney as Australia's biggest city by 2030.

Premier John Brumby, who commissioned the report last year, said he was neither "ruling anything in nor ruling anything out" among Sir Rod's 20 key recommendations.

Mr Brumby announced a 15-week period for public comment which will be considered before the government responds to the report later in the year.

After delivering the report, Investing In Transport, Sir Rod warned that Melbourne faced transport chaos, due largely to its reliance on the West Gate Bridge as the only major east-west route.

"My report clearly shows that there will be a big increase in east-west travel across Melbourne on both public transport and roads, driven by the massive growth in the west and north-west of the city," Sir Rod said.

"Without new public transport and road infrastructure, overcrowding on our trains and congestion on our roads will become intolerable."

The proposals received widespread support from industry and community groups.

Victoria's peak motoring group, the RACV, said Sir Rod's report was "visionary" and called on the state government to flesh out the details and "get on with implementing initiatives".

"We're calling on the government to immediately start development of a comprehensive transport plan for Melbourne, arguably something we haven't had for many decades," RACV public policy general manager Brian Negus said.

"Inaction by the government is simply not an option."

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) said the Eddington blueprint spelled out the need for bold investment to fix overcrowding on trains, relieve congestion on the road network and remove heavy vehicles from suburban streets.

IPA chairman Mark Birrell said the federal government had estimated that congestion cost Melbourne $3 billion in 2005, and without the solutions identified in the latest report, it would cost Victorians more than $6 billion by 2020.

"The debate about solutions to congestion must not be framed as road or rail - to succeed, any plan must include an appropriate mix of public and private transport solutions," Mr Birrell said.

But the project drew immediate opposition from conservation groups and residents of Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

Greens MP Greg Barber said there was little demand for an east-west tunnel, and Sir Rod's recommendation came because the government asked for one.

"To be fair to him, he was asked a stupid question, and he's given them a stupid answer," Mr Barber said.

He said Victoria's public transport was underfunded, and the cost of a new road tunnel would be better spent improving rail and reducing the amount of freight carried through suburbs by trucks.

"The Greens are going to be putting up a strong fight against this tunnel and for the public transport we need to unclog the city," Mr Barber said.

Environment Victoria spokesman Mark Wakeham said decades of freeway expansion had proven that more roads did not solve congestion.

"A new freeway would add millions of tonnes of greenhouse pollution every year for decades to come and would not be contemplated by any government seriously committed to tackling climate change," he said.

The Eastern Transport Coalition said the report failed to provide a long-term vision for public transport in the outer eastern suburbs.

"The report seems to give up on the east," spokesman Mick Van De Vreede said.

As well as the major tunnel projects, the report commissioned calls for improved priorities for public transport, improved cycling facilities and enhancements in freight transport.

Sir Rod, the former British Airways chief who also produced a similar plan for London's transport system, said the projects were an imperative.

Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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Online ozbob

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Re: Article: Melbourne needs $18b spent on transport
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2008, 08:26:31 PM »
Sounds a bit like Brisbane, and Sydney ....

I don't know why we need these expert studies. 

Just ask the folks as they hop off the buses, trains and ferries ...

 ::)
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Re: Article: Melbourne needs $18b spent on transport
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2008, 10:48:35 AM »
From Melbourne Age click here!

Right track but wrong assumptions

Quote
Right track but wrong assumptions

Nicholas Low
April 4, 2008

Eddington's report neglects greenhouse emission targets.

THE Eddington report contains the right approach to reducing greenhouse emissions from transport, but the assumptions it makes deserve to be challenged.

They are, in some cases, far too timid, in other cases over-optimistic and, in general, heavily biased towards business as usual. Eddington's approach, which is correct, is to propose a bundle of changes that could lead to a reduction in emissions from transport.

These changes are: reducing travel demand, boosting public transport share, improving vehicle technologies, and increasing vehicle occupancy.

The first problem with the Eddington treatment is that there are no targets. There is no answer to the reasonable question: how much could the transport sector reasonably be expected to contribute to reducing greenhouse gases?

Of course, the answer depends on government policies, including the imposition of a cap on emissions under Ross Garnaut's emissions trading scheme, and State Government policies on infrastructure development.

We know that under the Garnaut regime the price of fuel is set to escalate, on top of any rise resulting from peak oil. But much also depends on the State Government's infrastructure priorities: cycling and walking, public transport, or more roads to ease congestion.

The Eddington report quotes Britain's Stern report on the economics of climate change as saying: "Transport is one of the more expensive sectors to cut emissions from because the low carbon technologies tend to be expensive and the welfare costs of reducing demand for travel are high."

However, a recent report by McKinsey and Company disagrees, showing that several transport changes are cost negative ? that is, they involve a saving to the economy. Trading down to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, shifting to public transport and walking or cycling for short journeys will save people money.

Moreover, the principal difficulty of change in the transport sector has nothing to do with technology, and everything to do with the "path dependence" of public policy: governments and the road lobby go on doing the same thing year after year, pouring billions of dollars into road construction and pretending it is a good investment. For climate change, it is a shockingly bad investment and a waste of taxpayers' money.

On travel demand management, the Eddington report says: "There is little evidence

to suggest that Australians will significantly adjust their travel patterns on the basis of environmental concerns."

There is actually no evidence at all, because public policy has subsidised increased travel. If it stopped doing that, travel patterns would change.

On boosting public transport share, the report correctly attributes greenhouse improvement from this source to increased patronage ? essentially numbers of passengers per engine (engines emit gas, not vehicles). But Eddington simply accepts the argument that the public transport system is already functioning at full capacity, and has nothing to say about the improvements to the network necessary to induce more people to use the system during off-peak hours.

Even the 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan knew that feeder buses were a necessary part of an effective public transport system: "The recommended plan places major emphasis on bus/rail co-ordination and the complementary role of the feeder buses in making rail travel more attractive to the public."

The Eddington report is over-optimistic in embracing change in land-use density to bring about change in travel. Despite the best of intentions, Melbourne 2030 has been completely unable to increase density around railway stations. Every attempt at intensification is met by intense public resistance.

In contrast, vast new swathes of land have been released for development on Melbourne's urban fringe ? without a plan to provide public transport to these areas that could connect the residents to the rapid rail network. Changing density is a failed solution.

The only avenue for major improvement in greenhouse emissions envisaged is in vehicle technology. Eddington expects improvements to begin in 2009. While one can understand Eddington's enthusiasm, serious doubts have been raised about whether car technology and infrastructure can respond quickly enough to provide "green mobility".

Hybrids offer only a small improvement. There are now major doubts about hydrogen fuel cell technology, so the new orthodoxy is electric cars.

The bottom line probably is that there will be a long period in which old vehicle technology winds down and new technology kicks in. Meanwhile, it is the consumers who will ultimately have to pay, and it is not going to be cheap.

Eddington recognises the virtues of foot transport but undervalues the contribution that a major public policy effort could make to increasing cycling and walking for short trips. As is now well known, trips under two kilometres account for half of all trips in Melbourne.

When it comes to climate change mitigation, Eddington is on the right track. But let's not just accept his assumptions.

There needs to be a serious debate about feasible targets for greenhouse mitigation from the transport sector so that the sector can respond in the best way when Garnaut's emissions trading regime begins.

Associate Professor Nicholas Low is director, Australasian Centre for Governance and Management of Urban Transport at the University of Melbourne.
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