Plea for PT funds

Federal Government funds needed to address congestion nightmare in Australian cities

Australia’s congestion burden is now costing $16.5 billion, according to research released by the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) this week.

Federal Government partnering with State and Territory Governments to build new public transport projects is the only solution TTF CEO Margy Osmond says.

"If we want to slow and even curb the cost of congestion on our cities we need to see the Federal Government willing to put money on the table to fund more public transport projects – that’s the reality of the challenge we are facing.

"The State and Territory Governments really need to get cracking on putting together their business and funding cases for new public transport projects."

Attitude towards public transport have changed in Canberra, which she finds encouraging, but actions speak louder than words.

"We know that congestion is a massive cost on our cities and their efficiency," Osmond says.

"Liveable and accessible cities are attractive destinations for tourists which is why we need to see more action to reduce congestion. Time is a premium for any traveller and being stuck in traffic trying to navigate your way around is not an experience to promote back home or encourage a return visit."

Great cities of the world have strong public transport that allows their citizens and paying visitors access to key locations in the city with ease, Osmond says, and that’s what Australian cities need to remain a top tourist destinations in the years ahead.

"Prime Minister Turnbull has set a new direction for the Federal Government that does seem more willing to look at the merits of federal funding outside of roads, but we really need to see that new spirit advanced to backing real projects with real budgets.

"All of our capital cities have grand visions for new public transport projects that include heavy rail, metro and light rail. What we need to see are strong business cases to secure funding."

Turnbull came to the party by pledging Federal Government funds to the light-rail extension on the Gold Coast, only time will tell the extent to which he is willing to support the other states with their public transport improvement projects.

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