If Tony Abbott’s Coalition won’t build rail, why do they include a rail icon on their infrastructure policy?
At least, I’m assuming it’s an icon for rail — not giant white picket fences to keep out asylum seekers, or something like that.
(The above is from the summarised version. The slightly more detailed policy document is here).
True, they’ve specified they won’t build urban rail, but it seems pretty clear their plan is to build lots of roads, and no rail at all.
In fact, their plan proposes a frenzy of motorway construction right across the country. Truly a pave-the-planet scenario: Melbourne East-West Link, multiple projects in Sydney, Brisbane Gateway Motorway, Adelaide South Road, Tasmania Midland Highway, and a bunch in Perth.
One can only conclude that they really believe that — unlike every other major urban road project in history — this massive road expansion will somehow solve traffic problems.
Unfortunately this kind of popularist, car-oriented thinking misses is the point that transport is supply-driven. Traffic demand grows to fill the available capacity.
When it comes down to it, this means if you want more people to drive, building more roads is the way to do it. If you want more people to use public transport, provide more of that instead.
If elected, Mr Abbott will fund more roads, which will fill with more traffic — further undermining sustainable transport modes, not the least by starving them of billions of dollars of funding for years. Wonderful.
- Parts of this blog post were quoted in an article on The Guardian web site: Tony Abbott’s roads plan will lead us nowhere, transport advocates claim