Thursday, May 05, 2011

etc welcomes public transport initiatives


The Eastern Transport Coalition has welcomed the announcement of feasibility studies for Rowville and Doncaster rail networks as part of the State Budget 2011.

The feasibility studies will examine a range of issues related to the projects, including construction, operation, land use and potential environmental impacts.

ETC Chairperson councillor Samantha Dunn said the funding announcement was a great win for public transport and commuters in the east and outer east.

"The community has been crying out for these missing links in our rail network, so it’s good to see that these well overdue projects are back on the table," Cr Dunn said.

"It is important that the government consults broadly and extensively to capture the needs of commuters and the business community, and the ETC looks forward to assisting the government in their consultative process," she said.

"The economic and environmental benefits of an extended rail network in the east of Melbourne are enormous.

"As coalition of seven municipalities in the east of Melbourne, the ETC has an extensive knowledge of our local communities and can provide important local knowledge to the consultation on the feasibility studies."

Cr Dunn said the ETC also welcomed the attention and focus on grade separations.

"Traffic congestion around rail crossings has a real impact on the road system and also impacts on the ability for train services to run more frequently," she said.

"We’re glad that the government has recognised that Rooks Road in Mitcham and Springvale Road in Springvale need priority attention."

Cr Dunn said while the feasibility studies were a welcome budget announcement, it was disappointing that the Upwey station hadn’t been included for a premium upgrade.

"An upgrade to a fully staffed station would have been of great benefit to local commuters," she said.

"It seems the only improvement we can expect in Yarra Ranges is the focus on grade separations on the Belgrave and Lilydale lines, and although welcome, this falls well short of community expectations."

The ETC is made up of seven eastern suburban councils, and represents the needs of more than one million residents.

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