Victoria relying on 'Fairy Godmother' to fund East-West Link

MTAG vows to continue fight for Truck Action Plan as RMIT lecturer criticises Government's East-West Link plans

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | May 8, 2013

A long-awaited truck route to reduce truck traffic in Melbourne’s west has been missed in this year’s Victorian Budget.

The Truck Action Plan again slipped under the State Government’s radar, but the lack of funding has come as no surprise to residents who say they have seen nothing but empty promises from government in the past decade.

Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) Secretary Martin Wurt says the group had initiated numerous meetings with Roads Minister Terry Mulder and Premier Denis Napthine.

"It’s unfair that the residents in the inner west have to carry a higher burden to having the Port of Melbourne right in the heart of Melbourne," Wurt says.

"We should have a truck bypass so that we’re not breathing in any emissions of these trucks which is a health issue and we certainly won’t give up on fighting for that.

"Everybody knows we’ve got a problem here and unfortunately the East-West Link is not going to alleviate the issue we have with trucks short-cutting off the West Gate Freeway to go to the port."

RMIT lecturer in transport planning Paul Mees says he has little hope for the East-West Link coming to fruition, saying the private sector will unlikely fill the funding shortfall.

"It’s not going to happen. I think they were hoping that the Fairy Godmother will save them and I don’t think they thought it through very well," he says.

"I think it’s outrageous that so much money could be wasted on a project that probably won’t occur and if it occurred it’d be the wrong direction for Melbourne.

"The Government was elected because it promised to fix public transport, not because it promised to build a big road."

Motoring group RACV has welcomed the Government’s announcement to spend $294 million on the East-West Link.

RACV Public Policy General Manager says transport is the winner and is calling on the Federal Government to commit funding to the road project.

"We know that congestion across the northern part of Melbourne is massive – both east-west and north-south, which includes five tramlines and several bus routes," Negus says.

"This will relieve that congestion, which will benefit all road users but also provide an alternative to the West Gate-Monash corridor once it’s completed.

"We are calling on the Federal Government in next week’s Federal Budget to commit to the $1.5 billion for the East-West Link, which has already been promised by the federal Opposition leader."

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