Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 - RACV Travel

Brian Negus, RACV General Manager Public Policy says none of the election contenders meet RACV’s standards for a fully-funded program to eliminate all major railway level crossings in the metropolitan area.

Mr Negus said the Greens had agreed to RACV’s call to fund a program to eliminate all major railway level crossings in the metropolitan area by supporting construction of a minimum of five overpasses or underpasses per year.

“The Greens stated policy is to upgrade Melbourne’s suburban railway tracks, signalling, electrification and computer systems, and eliminate network bottlenecks” Mr Negus said.

“They have told RACV they support our call to action but have not detailed how these projects will be funded,” he said.

The Liberal Nationals Coalition have promised to eliminate eight of Melbourne’s railway level crossings by committing an initial $379 million in its first term, with planning to get underway on an additional two level crossings.

“The Coalition’s plan for its first term, if elected, is to remove level crossings at Rooks Road and Mitcham Road (Mitcham); Springvale Road (Springvale)” Mr Negus said.

“They have promised that planning and construction will begin in their first term on level crossings at Mountain Highway and Scoresby Road (Bayswater), North Road (Ormond), Blackburn Road (Blackburn), and Main Road East/West (St Albans). Planning activity is also promised for Burke Road (Glen Iris) and Murrumbeena Road (Murrumbeena)” he said.

“The Coalition plan is the strongest commitment of the three parties to get serious about improving safety and reducing delays at level crossings,” Mr Negus said.

The ALP has promised $82.5 million to remove the railway level crossing at Main Road St Albans, conditional on the Federal Government matching the Victorian contribution.

Mr Negus this was a positive move to resolve congestion and safety problems at this notorious site, which has been a constant source of frustration to motorists and public transport users over many years.

“RACV encourages the Federal Government to match the Victorian ALP’s $82.5 million commitment”, he said.

RACV believes that all parties have more work to do in addressing the challenge of removing level crossings.

Railway level crossings made up four of the ten most hated road locations sites in Victoria featured in the 2010 RACV Redspot Survey. The Murrumbeena Road level crossing was the number one Redspot, with Burke Rd coming in at number four.

“Delays at railway level crossings are one of the most pressing transport management issues Melbourne will face over coming years” Mr Negus said.

“Already at locations like Murrumbeena Road, the boom gates are down for nearly 40 minutes in the peak hour, creating long and unnecessary delays to motorists, road-based public transport users and freight.

“This is only going to get worse as more train services come on line. Promising more trains without considering the impacts across the transport network is not good enough, and all parties have much work to do on this critical issue,” he said.

RACV again calls on all parties to commit to a program to eliminate all major railway level crossings in the metropolitan area, by completing at least five level crossings a year. This equates to funding the removal of 20 crossings over the next term of government, a bar which has not yet been reached by any party,” Mr Negus said.

Voters who want to know what the major parties have promised for transport in the lead up to the State Election should visit RACV’s election website – www.racvelectionmonitor.com.au. The website is designed to scrutinise the promises of the major political parties on transport related issues.

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