Voters in the east are looking to the public transport policies of parties to decide who will get their support, according to a survey undertaken for the Eastern Transport Coalition.

ETC Chairperson, Cr Peter Lockwood said it was clear that this election would be decided on transport issues with public transport network deficiencies and the East West road versus rail debate being thrashed out repeatedly.

Cr Lockwood said the Eastern Suburbs Transport Poll, conducted by Essential Research for the ETC, found that among voters who are likely to change their vote, 61 per cent said they would be more likely to vote for a party that committed to rail projects.

“By comparison, 57 per cent said they were more likely to vote for a party that committed to building both the rail and road projects. Significantly, only 33 per cent said they would be more likely to vote for a party that only committed to the East-West link,” he said.

“When it comes to the key transport projects for the State, voters ranked the removal of level crossings as the highest priority, followed by Doncaster, Rowville and the Melbourne Metro rail projects and then East West Link.”

“While all political parties say they will undertake the Melbourne Metro project, which needs to occur before Doncaster and Rowville rail can be built, they have either pushed it so far into the future or haven’t allocated funds to it – it is difficult for voters to believe that they are truly committed to building it.”

Cr Lockwood said these would be among the issues discussed by each of the major political parties at the Commuters Count Transport Summit coming up on April 9.

“This is the only time that all three political parties will be in the same room together, talking about public transport, putting their policies on the table and debating the issues.”

Speakers will include Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, Gary Blackwood, Shadow Minister for Planning, Major Projects and Infrastructure, Brian Tee and Leader of the Victorian Greens Greg Barber, as well as RACV’s General Manager for Public Policy, Brian Negus and Paul Barton from Monash University.

“We would hope that all local members of Parliament and candidates standing at the next State Election will take this opportunity to hear from the community and take part in a discussion about the future development needs of our city,’’ Cr Lockwood said.

He urged all those with an interest in improving Melbourne’s public transport to join the discussion either at the summit which will be held on Wednesday, April 9 from 9am at the City of Greater Dandenong community facility at Springvale Reserve, Newcomen Road, Springvale, via the ETC’s Commuters Count Facebook page or the hash tag #commuterscount on Twitter.