I was a bit busy yesterday. Took a few hours off work to deal with the Transport Plan release — the presentation to stakeholders and skulking around at Treasury Place to talk to media.
In summary? Well although I’m at home today, I’m a bit rushed again, so maybe I’ll just paste in my two hundred words for The Age:
Two-and-a-half years ago, the government issued Meeting Our Transport Challenges, its long-term vision for Melbourne’s transport system.
That document is now in tatters, replaced by the new transport plan. While some communities will welcome new and improved train services, and CBD commuters will see a little relief from overcrowding, for most car-dependent Melburnians who live in bus-only suburbs and rarely travel into the CBD, this plan will make little difference.
Public transport is lacking in many areas but the plan includes funding and studies for more than 100 kilometres of new motorways in the misguided belief that these will relieve traffic congestion.
We had hopes that this plan would bring quality public transport to all of Melbourne, not just those lucky enough to live near tram, train and Smartbus routes. We had hopes that more Melburnians would finally get real transport choices, so they could leave their cars at home. On these points, this plan, like its predecessor, is a failure.
So is it half-baked? Well, yes, unfortunately I think you’d have to say it is. $38 billion to be spent, but for a lot of people in the middle and outer suburbs, it really will make very little difference.