Media Releases | 5th Apr, 2006

Government must not ignore own inquiry into traffic congestion

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Environment Victoria welcomes today’s calls for major changes to transport planning in Victoria from an inquiry into traffic congestion across the state.

The Victorian Competition & Efficiency Commission inquiry into managing transport congestion made sweeping recommendations including calling for VicRoads to lose its role in policy development. This will address decades of pro-roading bias in transport planning.

Environment Victoria’s transport campaigner Louise Sales said the State Government must not ignore the results of the inquiry – commissioned by Treasurer John Brumby .

“In the past decade $7.2 billion has been, or is currently being spent, on freeway expansion in metropolitan Melbourne. This is around 30 times the $225 million spent on rail and tram network expansion. VicRoads has dictated Government transport policy for far too long. It’s time transport planning was done by experienced planners rather than road engineers.”

“The VCEC report shows that building more roads just creates more congestion by encouraging more people to drive. Smart cities such as Vancouver –now the World’s most liveable city –stopped building freeways decades ago.”

“Despite the inquiry results the State Government, which is currently preparing its forthcoming Transport and Liveability statement, looks set to go down the well-trodden road of freeway expansion. Its plans include increasing road capacity around the West Gate bridge and an east-west tunnel linking the Tullamarine and Eastern Freeways. “

“Peter Batchelor, the Transport Minister, should heed the recommendations of the inquiry – rather than speeding ahead with plans for even more freeways.”

Other welcome recommendations in the inquiry’s report include:

  • A single state budget for all transport projects.
  • Adoption of a transparent triple-bottom line framework to assess the costs and benefits of all transport projects.
  • Improvements to the rail system, including duplication of single track sections and substantial extensions to the rail network.
  • The removal of incentives for Victorian Government employees to use cars for commuting.
  • Traffic-light priority and segregated road space for trams and buses on major congested routes.
  • Enabling the funding of public transport through developer contributions.
  • Greater coherence between land-use planning and public transport provision.