The Eastern Transport Coalition has urged the State Government to give a commitment to build the Doncaster Rail line following the release of the Doncaster Rail Study yesterday.
ETC Chairperson Cr Samantha Dunn said constructing the Doncaster Rail link was vital to the region and the Government could not afford to wait.
“We appreciate that there are some complex construction and land use issues to consider, however putting it off decade after decade is not the answer,” Cr Dunn said.
Cr Dunn said the City of Manningham, which has more than 110,000 residents, is the only municipality within Melbourne without any form of rail or tram access.
“The existing bus services to Doncaster along the freeway have shown the high demand that exists for better public transport. However, the carrying capacity of the bus services is insufficient, resulting in severe overcrowding,” Cr Dunn said.
“The cost of congestion, through delays in delivery schedules and opportunity costs, has been estimated at $20.4 billion annually, of which $2.44 billion directly impacts eastern and south eastern Melbourne,” she said.
“The heavy congestion on the Eastern Freeway could also be reduced with a rail line to Doncaster.”
Cr Dunn said delaying the Doncaster Rail Link would only exacerbate costs, road congestion and land use issues and called on the government to take the lead, work through the issues and get the rail line built.
“An expanded and integrated public transport network that includes a train line to Doncaster is the only public transport option that will adequately service this part of Melbourne now and in the future,” Cr Dunn said.
“Only last week, Auditor-General Des Pearson told Parliament that public transport patronage is expected to jump by around 70 per cent in the next decade.
“He also estimated that capital expenditure on public transport would need to triple over the next decade to cope with this expected growth.
“Further delay to this project will only exacerbate an already unsatisfactory situation.”
The ETC is made up of seven eastern suburban councils, and represents the public transport needs of more than one million residents.