The state government continues to push the East-West motorway (a plan they barely mentioned in the 2010 election campaign) over major public transport projects.
But what do the people want? As it happens there’s a pretty clear message from surveys going back at least five years. (Skip to the end for the latest one.)
And 94% believe the Government should be spending more on public transport. Extra spending on roads was supported by 55% of those surveyed.
The survey, taken last month by Sweeney Research, involved 601 respondents in Melbourne and 2000 nationally.
— The Age 20/10/2008: Melburnians want better system
A survey of attitudes to transport found that 94 per cent of respondents believed more money should be spent on public transport, while just 68 per cent said the government did not spend enough on roads.
This trend was reflected nationally, with an average of 88 per cent of those surveyed calling for more public transport funding, and 73 per cent wanting more spending on road infrastructure.
— The Age 10/4/2011: Fix trains, then roads: commuters
ALMOST two-thirds of Australians believe investment in public transport is more important than investment in roads, a survey has found.
In Victoria 63 per cent of people surveyed said investing in public transport was the highest priority, compared with 20 per cent who believed it was most important to invest in roads.
— The Age 26/9/2012: Make room: transport survey, quoting the University of Sydney
Over half (53%) of Australians said that the highest priority issue for transport in Australia is public transport improvements, followed by road improvements (26%).
— University of Sydney, Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS): Transport Opinion Survey (TOPS), Quarter 1, March 2013 (an update of the survey quoted for September 2012)
Would you prefer the Napthine Government to spend more on public transport or road infrastructure projects, like the East West Link tunnel?
Public transport 58.8%
Road infrastructure projects 32.3%
Updates since this blog post was written
23/7/2013: It’s emerged via a Melbourne Times Weekly article that more RACV members believe enhanced public transport is a better fix for traffic congestion than more roads. In responding to the article, the RACV has revealed that only 38% of their members support the East-West tollway tunnel.
24/8/2013: Voters prefer Metro rail link to be built before east-west tunnel: VOTERS in Victoria’s vital marginal seats overwhelmingly want the Metro rail link to be built before the east-west road tunnel. An exclusive Galaxy Poll for the Herald Sun reveals the $9 billion public transport project is rated as the top transport priority by 63 per cent of voters in Chisholm and La Trobe. Only a quarter of those surveyed backed the east-west road, intended to ease traffic congestion for those driving to the CBD from eastern and southeastern suburbs.
28/11/2013: A poll published by The Age today shows 23% support the East West tunnel, compared to 74% supporting improved public transport.
2/3/2014: Another Age poll: Despite countless hours and millions of dollars spent marketing the $8 billion road project, the latest Age/Nielsen poll has found that only one in four Victorians believe the tunnel should be the highest infrastructure priority to ease congestion and improve liveability. Instead, most people want the government to build the Metro Rail Capacity Project – a nine-kilometre underground train line through the city that would allow another 20,000 passengers to use the network during peak hour.
3/3/2014: Herald Sun/Galaxy Poll reveals airport rail link our top priority: VICTORIANS want a rail line to the airport ahead of a new rail tunnel through inner Melbourne or the East West Link, a Herald Sun/Galaxy Poll has found.
18/8/2014: Herald Sun/Galaxy Poll: Today’s poll also delivers a major blow to Dr Napthine’s hopes of a come-from-behind victory with a finding that 62 per cent of voters rate Labor’s signature policy of removing Melbourne’s 50 worst level crossings as more important than the Government’s East West Link project, which is favoured by only 28 per cent.