Governments should invest in transport infrastructure

Governments should borrow to deliver transport infrastructure, RACV, General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus told CEDA a forum in Melbourne.

Governments should borrow to deliver transport infrastructure, RACV, General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus told a CEDA forum in Melbourne.

"At a federal level especially, there should be a transport infrastructure fund to make sure they actually deliver long term funding arrangements," he said.

"You cannot deliver the infrastructure, nor in fact the operations required, on the drip feed of yearly budgets. You really need a longer term approach to it.

"You cannot afford to change the long term strategic plans for a place like Melbourne every time the government changes.

"Let's get agreement on what is the integrated transport plan for Melbourne, and a land use plan, to make sure there's a commitment no matter who the government is to in fact deliver that."

Mr Negus said there are three principal projects in Melbourne that are crucial to reduce urban congestion and improve public transport; the North East Road Link; the East-West Road Tunnels; and the Metro Rail tunnel.

Parsons Brinckerhoff, Transport Planning Executive, George Pund said transport simply cannot be de-politicised but a shift to outcomes is needed for long term planning.

"You're not going to take the politics out of transport, it's too important," he said.

"I think if we can encourage governments not to think about a list of projects but about outcomes, we might get into that space about talking about longer term plans."

Mr Pund also said that big infrastructure is not always the answer to transport problems and that the models of Public Private Partnerships are important for public transport outcomes.

Mr Pund said airports are an example where car parking is a major course of revenue but a different contract might have driven different transport objectives.

"If leases had've included some component about what the mode share to airports might be, we'd probably get a bit of different behaviour in terms of how the airports manage," he said

City of Melbourne, Director of Planning and Infrastructure, Geoff Lawler said transport issues in Melbourne are affected by a misfit between where people are choosing to live and where the high value jobs are located.

While the most high value jobs and the concentration of public transport services in Melbourne are located towards the south east, population growth is expected in the West, which requires a restructure of Melbourne's public transport, Mr Lawler said.

For urban renewal projects to the west, the metro rail line will be critical as would changes to the tram services, he said.

"The Council is, through its transport strategy, suggesting that the time is coming for this redistribution of the tram services," he said.

Mr Lawler also said the City of Melbourne anticipates growth in the number of Victorian's making daily trips to Melbourne.

"The thing that would prevent it from growing would be, frankly, if the public transport system can't keep up," he said.

Transdev Melbourne, Chief Executive Officer, Edward Thomas said Melbourne's transport network requires innovative solutions and cooperation between stakeholders to make the system world class.

"It's my belief, based on many years of experience, that public transport services in Melbourne is at a cross roads," he said

Mr Thomas said for significant progress to be made we need to place less reliance on cars as a major mode of transport.

"The supply of road infrastructure cannot keep pace with the increasing number of cars," he said.

Compared to other cities public transport in Melbourne has low market share, with only 10 per cent of trips taken on public transport, he said.

At a minimum we should be striving for 20 per cent, he said.

As part of Transdev's contract to provide a third of Melbourne's bus services, Mr Edwards said they would work with other mode operators to ensure a synchronisation of timetables with other modes, especially trains.

"For buses to take a greater role in public transport services need to be redesigned," he said.

The first initiative would be a new Greenfield timetable, he said.

Mr Edwards said Transdev services in Melbourne will aim to developing higher frequency bus services, a network that is easy to understand and easy interchanges between routes without long waiting periods.