VTA praises Liberal congestion plan

Comments follow Victorian Transport Association boss calling on companies to pass cost of congestion on to customers

VTA praises Liberal congestion plan
Victorian Transport Association CEO Peter Anderson


The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has condemned rising congestion levels as it applauds an opposition Liberal Party policy that commits the party to building both the North East Link and the East West Link in Melbourne if it wins government.

Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has promised to spend "at least $2 billion" on the development of both projects within his first term, if elected when the state goes to the polls in November.

He added that the state would expect almost $5 billion from the Federal Government during that time, and that further money might be needed in future forward estimates.

Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews allocated $110 million for more work on the North East Link in the 2018 state budget. Read our story here.

VTA CEO Peter Anderson says the plan for the East West Link, which would connect Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway with either the CityLink tollroad or the West Gate Tunnel, will go a long way to reducing gridlock.

"Long-term planning is precisely what we need to tackle worsening congestion in Australia’s fastest growing city and we welcome the Opposition’s vision for finally linking Melbourne’s disjointed freeway network," he says.

"Long-term planning and delivery of road projects is precisely what we need to address a freight task that is expected to double within 10 years, and we applaud the Opposition for understanding and acting on the needs of the freight and logistics industry."

The VTA described the North East Link, which would connect the Eastern Freeway with the Metropolitan Ring Road, as its "priority project", while noting that the Opposition’s proposal also included the removal of 55 congested traffic light intersections.

In November last year Guy announced a plan to build underpasses at 50 Melbourne intersections. Read our report here

The news came as Anderson said the productivity losses and higher fuel and maintenance costs incurred by freight and logistics companies due to congestion should be passed on to customers through their contractual arrangements.

"For operators, congestion has required a total re-think of how they address efficiently meeting the freight task because of the enormous disruption to vehicle scheduling it has created," he says.

With delays caused by construction projects, changes to work patterns and more vehicles on the road, the days of schedulers being able to accurately forecast travel times are long gone, he says.

"Longer travel times caused by congestion translates to much higher operating costs and productivity losses for freight operators," he says.

"This is evident in the higher cost per kilometre operators are experiencing across their fleets, as well as reduced capacity to earn revenue from vehicles idling in traffic instead of moving and delivering freight."

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