Hobart Bypass Unaffordable
Time that the idea of more roads was consigned to dustbin of history
Community-based public transport advocacy group, Future Transport Tasmania (FTT), today said that the idea of a CBD bypass through the western suburbs should be consigned to the dustbin of history. FTT said that the proposal was unaffordable and would only cater for approximately 15% of the traffic coming from Kingston, Sandy Bay and South Hobart. The cost of such a bypass would easily exceed one billion dollars and could even be more than twice that. FTT condemned transport economist Bob Cotgrove (who spoke at yesterday’s RACT Transport Forum) for deliberately confusing the transport issues facing Hobart. FTT pointed out that it is the Brooker Highway and then the Tasman Bridge which have significantly more congestion, not the Southern Outlet and Sandy Bay.
Toby Rowallan, spokesperson for FTT, said that, “We saw yesterday the ridiculous claims that public transport alternatives are only for commuters going to work and that this won’t affect the peak congestion. When of course it is precisely when everyone is going to or from work that we get the congestion! We also saw the equally ridiculous claim that there is an ‘anti-car’ movement. As always what the pro-highway lobby fail to address is that we cannot afford to build the roads they want. We cannot afford almost infinite space for cars.”
“Unlike the road lobby who are always worried about the cars, our concern is for people. The fact remains that Hobart still has a lack of transport choice and alternatives. We can make a big difference for Hobart’s future growth and liveability by investing in the Hobart Northern Suburbs Railway (Riverline). The business case has a positive benefit-cost ratio. The cost of this project is a fraction of any of these mad highway proposals. It will have a dramatic effect on accessibility for those who cannot drive a car for reasons of age or illness, a demographic always forgotten by those who want to build more roads.”
“Tasmania simply cannot afford to build more roads. The Federal Government equally cannot afford to fund more huge road projects. We await commitment from particularly the Liberal Party but also the Labor Party, that they will fund the Riverline project should they be in Government after the State Election. Both parties have an abysmally poor record in relation to public transport funding in this state, both parties urgently need to change this focus, for the good of Tasmania,” finished Mr Rowallan.