The controversial cross-city tunnel proposal should be ruled out by the State Government, the Coalition for People’s Transport said.
The coalition of environment, welfare and transport users groups is calling on the Bracks Government to follow the City of Melbourne’s lead and abandon the idea to link the Tullamarine and Eastern freeways with an underground tunnel.
Transport Minister Peter Batchelor, Premier Steve Bracks and Treasurer John Brumby will meet next week (Thursday 09/02) to discuss the Transport and Liveability statement, which is due for release in April.
Coalition members say rumours are strengthening that the State Government may adopt the cross-city tunnel – despite even its creator now criticising the idea.
Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) spokesman Alex Makin said: “We congratulate The City of Melbourne for its foresight to drop the cross-city tunnel idea and recognise the need to focus on public transport. It’s time the State Government did the same.”
Friends of the Earth National Liaison Officer Cam Walker said: “At a time of skyrocketing petrol prices and increasing climate change concerns the last thing Melbourne needs is a new freeway.”
“It is imperative that the Government commits itself to a sustainable future for Victoria.”
Environment Victoria sustainable transport campaigner Louise Sales said: “A cross-city tunnel would be a disaster for Melbourne’s future. It would undermine any hope of achieving the Government’s goal to get 20 per cent of motorised trips undertaken by public transport by 2020.”
Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) chief executive Cath Smith said: “The cross city tunnel would cost billions that would be far better spent on rail extensions and improved bus services to the neglected outer suburbs. This would give households struggling with the growing costs of petrol some genuine transport alternatives.”