Victorian Transport Association approves, with reservations

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has announced support for the Victorian Government’s new $112.7 million congestion plan, "Keeping Melbourne Moving".

VTA CEO, Philip Lovel said, “The plan aims to ease congestion in the short term, and we support that. Melbourne needs these immediate solutions.”

The new plan comes out of consultation at the Premier’s Congestion Roundtable held earlier in the year with community and industry leaders including the VTA. The Keeping Melbourne Moving plan will standardise the more than 150 clearways within 10 kilometres of the Melbourne CBD from 6.30am to 10am and from 3pm to 7pm, helping traffic flows during peak traffic times. Clearways will also be more strictly enforced. Also included is an extension of the tram and bus priority program, an extension of rapid response patrols to clear broken-down vehicles; a funding boost for cycling and pedestrian facilities, and an information campaign for motorists.

Mr. Lovel continued “The VTA has also identified further practical initiatives, which it has shared with the Government. These can be implemented quickly and cheaply to help limit congestion growth. These include, allowing more productive trucks on the road and encouraging working around the clock.

"Authorities need to approve access arrangements for more productive truck designs such as High Efficiency Container Transporters (HECTs) outside the Port precincts and the PBS-based Cubic Freight Vehicle to carry greater quantities of light-weight payload on intrastate and interstate routes. Without these, the roads won’t be able to cope with a 33% increase in trucks in the next 15 years. This can be done at virtually no cost and very quickly.

"In addition, bans and curfews by local government are restricting the use of the road system during the night by many transport operators, including supermarkets, quarry and sand operators and the Port. Unlocking this opportunity for freight operators should be a high priority, as it maximises the use of existing investment.

The VTA is very supportive of the Government taking on congestion problems, and the move to extend and standardise clearways is a welcome initiative. We also back the increased rapid response patrols, and know that our members will see the benefits of this.”

Notwithstanding the recent plans, Mr. Lovel remains adamant that “Melbourne needs a complete plan, not just a variety of smaller band-aid solutions. With the Eddington East West Study and the Keeping Melbourne Moving Plan, the VTA anticipates the Government will soon accomplish better policy & planning integration”.

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