Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Assembly votes for Capital Metro funding

In our last post we covered the debate in the Assembly where the Canberra Liberals argued against better public transport infrastructure. Yesterday, they moved a motion in the Assembly opposing that funding. It was defeated.

Here is the video from WIN TV on the issue. The ABC TV carried no report on it.
Here is a media release issued by MLA Simon Corbell, Capital Metro Agency Minister.

Canberra Liberals' blinkered opposition to light rail lets Canberrans down

The Canberra Liberals have proved once again how out of touch they are with the needs of Canberrans with their blinkered opposition to a project that will deliver positive outcomes for the ACT, Minister for Capital Metro, Simon Corbell, said today.

"With his latest motion in the Legislative Assembly today Alistair Coe continues with his head-in-the-sand approach to tackling transport challenges for Canberra's future," Mr Corbell said.

"Not only is he objecting to a project that will deliver strong transport, economic and sustainability outcomes for Canberra but he is also objecting to a project supported by a majority of Canberrans."

A recent survey by Piazza Research, commissioned by Capital Metro, found 55% of Canberrans supported light rail as a public transport solution for the ACT.

Stage one of Canberra's light rail network will decrease congestion along Northbourne Avenue while providing for the iconic landscape of the wide, tree-lined median.

The Canberra Liberals' alternative to light rail is to either do nothing, allowing congestion to increase into the future to the point where commuters will be bogged down in gridlocked traffic, or to replace the landscaped entry to the national capital with extra road lanes.

"If Mr Coe is seriously suggesting that Bus Rapid Transit is the solution for preventing one-hour commutes from Gungahlin to City in the coming decades he should come clean and tell the people of Canberra whether he intends to either reduce Northbourne Avenue to two lanes of general traffic or if he prefers to put a two-lane road in the place of the median strip," Mr Corbell said.

Not only does the Capital Metro project have a positive Benefit Cost Analysis, meaning it provides more in economic benefits then it costs, but it will also provide social and environmental benefits that other forms of public transport do not.

"Light rail is good for all of Canberra. It is good for people who use public transport, who will have a fast, comfortable, reliable service. It is good for businesses, which will benefit from the increased economic activity. It is also good for drivers, who will benefit from reduced congestion on roads that are already being choked with traffic during peak periods and are only going to get worse if nothing is done.

"Light rail is a modern, sustainable form of public transport that delivers important benefits for Canberrans now, while allowing for Canberra to grow and prosper into the future.

"The government knows light rail is the right public transport choice for the ACT and the upcoming final business case will show it is economically good policy for the ACT.

"The Canberra Liberals need to decide whether they want more congestion and less efficient travel in Canberra or if they want a transformational transport option that provides for Canberra's future."

- Statement ends -

For more frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'.  

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