No motorways under Greens transport plan

Greens won’t support new motorways, claim B-doubles are a "safety risk" and want incentives to get freight on rail

By Brad Gardner | August 16, 2010

The Greens are pushing for an end to motorways in Sydney as part of its transport plan launched today.

The Sustainable Transport Plan for Sydney launched by the Greens Senate candidate for NSW, Lee Rhiannon, opposes new motorways and supports a decline in road funding.

Despite the trucking industry backing a Federal Government commitment to look at expanding the M5 and link the F3 to M2, Rhiannon says the projects must not go ahead because they will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead, the transport plan wants more money poured into public transport at the expense of roads and for incentives to be introduced to encourage more freight to be carried on rail.

"The Greens seek a shift to sustainable transport – cycling, walking and heavy and light rail – to help the environment and combat air pollution. New motorway projects like the M5 duplication and M4 East should not proceed," the transport plan reads.

The Greens have also criticised the use of B-double combinations, saying they are "a considerable safety risk" and responsible for air pollution and congestion.

The party, which is pushing for the balance of power in the Senate after the August 21 election, wants more money for cycleways and greater planning to improve pedestrian safety.

This includes lower speed limits, separated walking paths, raised crossings and better street amenities such as shelters.

In a sign of what the Greens may push for if they gain enough seats in the Senate, the transport plan also calls for sweeping road pricing reform recommended by Treasury secretary Ken Henry.

Henry earlier this year recommended the introduction of mass-distance-location pricing so trucks will be charged based on what they carry, the distance they travel and where they travel to.

According to the Greens, road pricing reform will ensure trucks pay for the damage they cause to the road network.

The Australian Trucking Association instead proposes a fuel-based charging system and a flat $400 registration fee for trucks and trailers.

The ATA last week supported Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s pledge to look at upgrading the M5 and to link the F3 to M2 if re-elected.

Under Gillard's plan, $150 million will be allocated for planning work to the F3 to M2 link.

ATA CEO Stuart St Clair says the connection is a major missing link in Sydney’s road network.

"Pennant Hills Road is one of the biggest bottlenecks in the Sydney road network. This $150 million project would go a long way to easing the pressure on traffic travelling to and from the state’s north," he says.

St Clair says the F3 to M2 upgrade will improve traffic access to the west, south and east of Sydney from North Sydney and country NSW.

The manager of the ATA NSW branch, Jill Lewis, says widening the M5 will be a boost for the trucking industry because it is the main freight corridor between south west Sydney, Port Botany and Sydney Airport.

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