EDITORIAL: Plan for 2009

By: Chris Smith

Welcome to 2009, a year of planning. Has the message finally set in? If you fail to plan, then you

Welcome to 2009, a year of planning. Has the message finally set in? If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. We should be thankful in 2009, because everyone seems to have a plan to curb congestion and increase traffic flow.

In the last few months it seems governments have heard the noise and are responding to the electorate concerns that traffic congestion is a major source of stress and aggravation for individuals and businesses.

Kevin Rudd has responded with Infrastructure Australia, a department developed to boost the economy as well as address the concerns of congestion, accessibility and productivity.

Could it be that the bus associations, and other transport and logistics bodies, around the country are having even more of an impact on government policy around the country?

In reality, it takes a while for the message to get through to the people at the top, and even longer for something to happen. It is the slow wheel of bureaucracy. Although policies appear over night, often they are years in the making.

In the last year alone, speakers in the country have suggested congestion taxes, limiting car accessibility on roads, spending less money on creating new roads and funnelling more money into public transport including plans for billion dollar infrastructure projects aimed at the public transport sector.

On the back of Sir Rod Eddington’s report, Victoria developed its $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan late last year.

The action plan delivers in the short term more trains, trams, buses and projects to unclog Victorian roads, and, in the longer term, transformational road and rail investments for the future.

Queensland developed the TransLink Transit Authority in 2008 and it has finished a 10 year plan to be tabled to the Queensland Parliament this year.

The promise is more infrastructure, more rolling stock and more integration of transport modes (ticketing and the go card) in order to create a better public transport network.

Western Australia has created a world class public transport network, opened up the Mandurah rail line and is kicking goals for their modern forward thinking system.

New South Wales, well they looked at taking free travel away from school kids… which may have seen numbers of students get dropped off at school by parents in private cars, and hence increase congestion, and play havoc with school bus contracts as less students take the bus - sanity prevailed however and the plan was scrapped.

There are many plans in play, we need to ensure the industry has a say and the money gets spent where it is needed most.

The advice this year is to plan ahead, look to the future and have a prosperous New Year.

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