Industry backs transport plan to beat congestion

Victoria Transport Plan is a road map capable of solving capacity constraints on the State's transport network, IPA says

The Brumby Government’s $38 billion Victoria Transport Plan is a road map capable of solving capacity constraints on the State’s transport network, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia says.

The nation’s peak infrastructure body says the plan will deliver benefits for the road, freight and public transport sectors to manage Victoria’s growth and provide for its future prosperity.

IPA Executive Director Brendan Lyon says the proposed east-west road tunnel beneath Maribyrnong will give motorists an alternative to the congestion-plagued West Gate corridor.

He says the Truck Action Plan, which will bar heavy vehicles from suburban areas, and the Metropolitan Ring Road are vital to easing congestion in Melbourne’s north.

"The Victorian Transport Plan wisely focuses on projects that will ease urban congestion, increase the efficiency and capacity of public transport and remove heavy vehicles from suburban streets," Lyon says.

Lyon says the Government’s commitment to expand Victoria’s freight network recognises efficiency and climate change.

"The impost of a carbon price signal and the significant projected growth in the freight task means that strategic investments in freight rail, intermodal facilities and consideration of new port facilities at Hastings are fundamental to Victoria’s future economic growth," Lyon says.

"Freight network expansions in the plan will encourage efficient freight movements through new intermodal freight terminals across greater Melbourne and throughout

Lyon welcomed the decision to construct an intermodal facility beside the Port of Melbourne, saying it will ease landside delays and help the port maintain its global trading position.

Under the plan, the Government will also begin planning for future freight capacity at Hastings, which Lyon says takes a long-term view of the economy.

He says a number of rail commitments, such as buying more carriages and upgrading lines, will reduce the $3 billion cost of congestion on the State’s economy.

While saying it is understandable the commitments may take time to come to fruition, Lyon says the Government must invest in infrastructure to mitigate the impact of the global financial downturn.

"While some states have used the global financial crisis as a reason to cut critical infrastructure investment, Victoria’s government should be congratulated for delivering a considered and achievable vision for the future," he says.

Lyon argues the downturn will be short-term, but Australia faces a long-term infrastructure shortage.

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