The Maroondah Leader has reported on the Eastern Transport Coalition’s request for Federal and State cooperation in funding urban public transport infrastructure so as to mitigate worsening traffic congestion and greenhouse emissions.
The Eastern Transport Coalition (ETC) has called for changes to funding rules under the national Auslink program to allow spending on urban public transport infrastructure.
Auslink is a federally funded program provides funding largely for roads and freight. While urban roads are included within the Auslink program, it currently excludes urban public transport.
Coalition member and Maroondah Councillor, Alex Makin said the federally funded Auslink program only provided for roads and some rural rail freight.
Auslink is about moving people, but it excludes public transport,” Cr Makin said. “Traffic congestion is growing faster than the population and the best way to ease that is by getting on to public transport”.
Given the national focus on combating inflation and greenhouse emissions, it is imperative that the federal government provides funding for public transport to restore and maintain Australia’s international competitiveness. Much of Melbourne’s outer east lacks essential rail infrastructure, resulting in traffic congestion and rising greenhouse emissions, since residents have no alternative but to drive.
The ETC is seeking federal and state cooperation for the following projects:
- Heavy rail connections to Doncaster and Rowville;
- Duplication of the Belgrave and Lilydale lines to ensure reliable and frequent services;
- Completion and implementation of the bus service reviews currently being undertaken by the State Government; and
- Improvements to major public transport interchanges, such as Ringwood and Box Hill.
It is essential that the State and Federal Governments cooperate in providing Melbourne with essential public transport infrastructure. Federal funding should be provided in return for efficiency gains from the State Government, to ensure a reliable and frequent public transport system that provides a ready alternative to car usage.