Coalition condemns irresponsible freeway widening plans

May 9, 2006

Widening Monash Freeway at a time of soaring petrol prices is a waste of taxpayer dollars that should instead be invested in public transport, the Coalition for People’s Transport said today. 

The coalition of environment, welfare and transport users groups has condemned the plans, which form part of the Government’s Transport Livability Statement due for release this month.

Environment Victoria sustainable transport campaigner Louise Sales said:
“With petrol prices continuing to rise, who’ll be able to afford to drive along the new expanded Monash Freeway? The Government should instead be funding the much-needed rail extension to Rowville, and other public transport service improvements, to provide the Eastern suburbs with genuine, affordable transport alternatives.”

Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) policy analyst Kate Colvin said: “Car-dependence is a major cost for outer suburban-households who own twice as many cars and drive five times as far to work as people in the inner city. Improving public transport will allow people to drastically cut their travel spending.”

Public Transport Users Association spokesperson Alex Makin said: “Public transport infrastructure in the eastern suburbs has been neglected for too long. The Rowville line and bus service improvements would eliminate the need for an extra lane on the Monash Freeway, resolving both major transport and congestion problems within the eastern suburbs”.

Friends of the Earth national liaison officer Cam Walker said: “Growing traffic levels are putting our quality of life at risk from increasing congestion, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Roads have been prioritised over public transport for too long - it’s time for Transport Minister Peter Batchelor to get on track!”

 

Media Contacts:
Louise Sales, Environment Victoria 0410 851 076
Kate Colvin, Victorian Council of Social Service  0418 103 292
Alex Makin,  Public Transport Users Association  0409 136 213
Cam Walker,  Friends of the Earth   0419 338 047