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Barr, Coe in transport war of words

By Charlotte Harper - 28 October 2015 71

legislative-assembly

This morning, Chief Minister Andrew Barr issued an entire media release attacking the Liberals over their stance on light rail and public transport ahead of an assembly motion vote on the issue today.

It asked, “Will the Liberals reaffirm their commitment to congestion?” and described the Canberra Liberals as “becoming increasingly isolated with their backward-looking position on transport in Canberra”.

Mr Barr said today presented “a line in the sand moment where the Liberals can either choose to join the rest of Canberra in the 21st century and support an assembly motion in favour of public transport. Or they can vote against it and come clean to Canberrans that they are the party that is hardwired to choke our streets with congestion.”

Opposition transport spokesman Alistair Coe was swift to respond.

“This is a desperate and inaccurate attempt by Andrew Barr to divert attention away from his unpopular $1 billion light rail project,” he said.

“The Canberra Liberals are big believers in a comprehensive public transport system centred on an improved bus system. The MRCagney report released yesterday also highlighted how badly the government has let ACTION languish, particularly since diverting funding and attention to light rail. Since 2011, public transport patronage to get to work has dropped from 7.8 percent to 6.9 percent because of the lack of investment, leading to more congestion.

“Let’s remember on the point of congestion that Andrew Barr’s Green Minister Shane Rattenbury raised concerns about the duplication of Cotter Road. We all know that congestion would worsen if the government had his anti-road agenda implemented.”

Mr Barr’s statement continued, saying the Federal Liberals think the ACT Opposition’s position is “economic lunacy”.

“Their political ‘friends’ at every level reject their position on public transport,” he wrote.

“Unlike the ACT Opposition leader, the new Liberal Prime Minister loves public transport. The Liberal leader over the border is investing in public transport, including light rail, which the Canberra Liberals hate. It’s worth remembering these are the most extreme conservative Liberals in the country. They make Tony Abbott look moderate.”

He said that if the Liberals cared about the city’s residents, they’d support a public transport network that met Canberrans’ needs now and over the next 25 years.

“They will support the reallocation of 1.2 million annual bus kilometres freed up by stage 1 of the light rail network to improve the Canberra-wide bus service; and they will support the government to investigate potential partnership opportunities with the Commonwealth Government for high priority light rail corridors. That’s our plan.

“If they vote against this motion, it’s the clearest admission yet that they have no plan for transport – that they are committed to congestion.

“The message I received loud and clear during my recent trip to the United States was that governments must act early to avoid future congestion problems. It is much harder, more time consuming and far more costly to act when the roads are already congested. We have the opportunity to build an efficient and affordable public transport network for the future of our city. This government will seize it.”

 

What’s Your opinion?


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71 Responses to
Barr, Coe in transport war of words
1
dungfungus 11:43 am
28 Oct 15
#

“free wifi”?
Is that like a “free lunch”?

2
miz 2:27 pm
28 Oct 15
#

Seriously. We all want better public transport but many Canberrans (who are smart and politically savvy) are unconvinced by the tram model proposed, for a myriad of sensible reasons.
Sounds like Mr Barr is getting worried!

3
dungfungus 3:09 pm
28 Oct 15
#

miz said :

Seriously. We all want better public transport but many Canberrans (who are smart and politically savvy) are unconvinced by the tram model proposed, for a myriad of sensible reasons.
Sounds like Mr Barr is getting worried!

How can you say “we all want better public transport” when only about 8% of us use it?

4
wildturkeycanoe 4:40 pm
28 Oct 15
#

Why is there a vote on this in the assembly when the project is already pretty much underway with little hope of stopping it? Talk about shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.

5
Garfield 4:55 pm
28 Oct 15
#

Has Barr tried to explain why they’re going with Light Rail instead of Bus Rapid Transit, when the ACT Government’s own submission to Infrastructure Australia showed BRT provided a better cost benefit ratio for the ACT?

6
farq 5:53 pm
28 Oct 15
#

Barr says: “We have the opportunity to build an efficient and affordable public transport network for the future of our city.”

I don’t think Barr’s definition of affordable is the same as the average rate payer.

My question still is, why would anyone prefer a SLOW tram to a faster/cheaper/more-flexible bus network? It must be about what developers want, as they seem to be the current governments primary constituents.

7
HiddenDragon 6:23 pm
28 Oct 15
#

“….the reallocation of 1.2 million annual bus kilometres freed up by stage 1 of the light rail network to improve the Canberra-wide bus service….

Well of course, and that will be so easy to do, because light rail is never ever (really truly!) going to cost the ACT Budget one cent……so all those subsidised ACTION services which will be cancelled or curtailed when (if not before) the trams start rolling will be able to be reallocated to other parts of Canberra.

The Magic Pudding is a wonderful story, for children of all ages, but it is no basis for public sector budgeting.

8
miz 7:40 pm
28 Oct 15
#

dung fungus, even you would use public transport if it was convenient, didn’t take too much longer than driving and meant you didn’t have to pay for parking.
My commuter route is exactly that.
I am in one way thankful Tuggeranong will not be getting light rail anytime soon, because they will leave my great bus route alone. I feel truly sorry for those northside people who currently have great Xpresso buses that will get re-routed to the darn tram (should it proceed), which will take twice as long as now for them to get to work.

9
miz 8:15 pm
28 Oct 15
#

I meant to add, and we could all benefit from better bus services if the ACT Govt followed their own advice and implemented rapid bus transit. At the moment, we are getting punished for wanting to go to Civic in a car in the evening (ridiculously punitive parking fees) even though there is minimal public transport coverage at that hour.

10
maxblues 1:09 am
29 Oct 15
#

Beware the Edinburgh tram.

11
Aragornerama 1:55 am
29 Oct 15
#

dungfungus said :

miz said :

Seriously. We all want better public transport but many Canberrans (who are smart and politically savvy) are unconvinced by the tram model proposed, for a myriad of sensible reasons.
Sounds like Mr Barr is getting worried!

How can you say “we all want better public transport” when only about 8% of us use it?

Maybe because we’re interested in the well-being of the community, not just ourselves.

12
dungfungus 7:16 am
29 Oct 15
#

miz said :

dung fungus, even you would use public transport if it was convenient, didn’t take too much longer than driving and meant you didn’t have to pay for parking.
My commuter route is exactly that.
I am in one way thankful Tuggeranong will not be getting light rail anytime soon, because they will leave my great bus route alone. I feel truly sorry for those northside people who currently have great Xpresso buses that will get re-routed to the darn tram (should it proceed), which will take twice as long as now for them to get to work.

While cars are cheaper and more efficient than ever before and our roads are uncongested I have no need to use public transport. These circumstances may change over time and I do understand why you use ACTION given your circumstances and I respect that.
That doesn’t change the fact that very few people use public transport in Canberra and introduction of trams will not change that situation other than a modal shift in the way it is used.

13
wildturkeycanoe 8:30 am
29 Oct 15
#

dungfungus said :

miz said :

dung fungus, even you would use public transport if it was convenient, didn’t take too much longer than driving and meant you didn’t have to pay for parking.
My commuter route is exactly that.
I am in one way thankful Tuggeranong will not be getting light rail anytime soon, because they will leave my great bus route alone. I feel truly sorry for those northside people who currently have great Xpresso buses that will get re-routed to the darn tram (should it proceed), which will take twice as long as now for them to get to work.

While cars are cheaper and more efficient than ever before and our roads are uncongested I have no need to use public transport. These circumstances may change over time and I do understand why you use ACTION given your circumstances and I respect that.
That doesn’t change the fact that very few people use public transport in Canberra and introduction of trams will not change that situation other than a modal shift in the way it is used.

As a novelty the tram may get some heightened patronage in its early days, but as people realize how slow and inconvenient it is, how it will be necessary to catch a bus to deviate from the 12km corridor in order to continue or divert to their destination anyway, they will slowly revert back to buses, cars and bicycles.
The tram must stop at every pickup/drop-off point on its jolly trip, so do not expect an express delivery to work. Passengers will need to leave home earlier and get home later. Who wants to sacrifice their own time to “feel good” about the environment, or simply be part of “the future”?
Should not a new technology, progress, be better than what is existing? How is going slower called progress? How is turning something adaptive and flexible into a service that will come to a complete stand-still should one piece of equipment fail an improvement?
Canthetram.

14
VYBerlinaV8_is_back 9:08 am
29 Oct 15
#

I’d be more than happy to use public transport if it was effective. At the moment, though, it doesn’t work for me all.

15
CaptainSensible 12:45 pm
29 Oct 15
#

Oh, I *so* want Light Rail & buses down Northbourne. Might as well stuff it up completely. Sod the voters.

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