Future Transport Tasmania’s questions for candidates
FTT believes that public transport services and rail infrastructure have been largely ignored during the State Election so far. Recently construction has begun on both the Brighton Bypass and the Kingston Bypass, for a total cost of over $200 million dollars. These developments will barely save more than ten minutes of travel time for commuters in peak hour, will guarantee further expensive highway maintenance costs, yet will not necessarily ensure smooth flowing traffic.
FTT believes that it is vitally important for the state’s future that future infrastructure takes into account the full range of net-cost benefit analysis. This should include climate change, peak oil and population growth, noting that as climate change effects increase, Tasmania will become an even more desirable place to live for potential immigrants from interstate and overseas.
Future Transport Tasmania spokesperson Toby Rowallan said: “We have a firm view that Tasmania’s public transport infrastructure and services should be significantly improved. Given that Metro Tasmania’s annual budget is approximately $40 million, when you compare that with the cost of the Kingston Bypass at around $42 million, its hard not to question whether this is really value for money.“
“Last year the Tasmanian Government took back ownership of the Tasmanian Railway system. Future Transport Tasmania wants to see the railways remain in public hands, and receive the investment that is needed to make sure the railways can take heavy trucks off our highways. This investment is urgently needed, but we are still waiting for the political commitment to it. If we look at the cost of the Brighton Bypass ($164 million), we have another questionable use of taxpayer’s funds that will incur further maintenance costs over the years. The railways would make far more effective use of that sort of money, shifting heavy freight to rail, providing a real impact on climate change and helping to make Tasmania immune from the fast approaching impact of peak oil.”
“We are convinced that in order for Tasmania’s economy to progress, its public transport services and the rail system must have priority over highways and roads. We don’t believe that relying on the road network to keep our economy connected is sustainable.”
“We await with interest responses from candidates, and hope that they regard this issue as seriously as we do.” finished Mr Rowallan.
(Questions are below)