FEDERAL BUDGET: Funds for public transport

Industry welcomes funding commitment for rollout of record $4.5b investment in passenger transport announced in 2009 Federal Budget

FEDERAL BUDGET: Funds for public transport
<font color=red>FEDERAL BUDGET:</font> Funds for public transport

May 12, 2010

Transport experts and the bus and coach industry have welcomed the funding commitment for the rollout of the record $4.5 billion investment in passenger transport announced in the 2009 Federal Budget.

This includes funding for the 5.5-kilometre extension of the dual track rail line from Noarlunga Centre Railway Station to the Seaford District Centre in South Australia; and early construction works on the Gold Coast Light Rail system in Queensland.

Transport economist Professor John Stanley of the University of Sydney says it’s "heartening" to see the importance the Federal Government has attached to improving transport infrastructure in cities, which has been "a no-go zone for Canberra for far too long".

"The focus on public transport from this Government is a landmark in terms of advancing the productivity, liveability and sustainability of our cities," he says.

Michael Apps, Executive Director of the Bus Industry Confederation, says the establishment of the new State Infrastructure Fund, delivering $5.6 billion to projects over a decade, starting in 2012, is an opportunity to establish sustainable funding for transport initiatives.

"We have seen a record commitment to passenger transport in the 2009 Budget and the establishment of this fund is an important chance for the Commonwealth and states to set into perpetuity a source of investment for passenger transport infrastructure," he says.

Professor Graham Currie, Chair of Public Transport at Monash University, says the Commonwealth’s investment in passenger transport infrastructure is much needed in the face of increasing congestion on Australia’s roads and overcrowding on public transport systems.

Stanley welcomes establishment of the fund, but calls for a serious discussion about road pricing reform as a source of guaranteeing continual investment in passenger transport infrastructure.

"I welcome the investment from the Government, but it can only form part of the large investment in passenger transport we need to achieve a transformational change in the way we move Australians," he says.

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