Feb 7, 2014

Experts highlight Abbott’s transport blind spot

A new report from Infrastructure Australia has called on Tony Abbott to invest in properly integrated planning of transport in cities, questioning his blanket rejection of urban public transport.

IA’s Urban Transport Strategy document, released today, warns against the commonwealth investing only in “certain types of infrastructure projects’’ – a thinly veiled reference to Mr Abbott’s rejection of investment in rail public transport.

The nation must “recognise that the Commonwealth has a role in influencing the quality of planning in our major cities, investing in urban transport infrastructure and encouraging a consistent national approach to decisions on urban transport,’’ says the IA report.

Mr Abbott believes in investing in roads only and leaving urban passenger rail to cash-strapped states.

Since taking office, he has scrapped billions of dollars in fully funded investment in urban rail by cutting funding to projects including Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project and the Melbourne Metro.

Our cities need better roads but they also need better public transport because a fully integrated and world-class transport system will lift economic productivity of cities and create jobs, as well as lifting living standards.

Tony Abbott does not understand his responsibility to provide national leadership to improve urban productivity.

He’d rather wipe his hands of the issue and play the blame game with the states.

The blame game does not reduce traffic congestion and it won’t create a single job.

The IA report notes that the commonwealth can use special purpose payments to help states deliver urban transport infrastructure and warns that investing in only certain classes of infrastructure means states and territories “may unduly focus on such projects at the expense of wider perspectives or without fully considering alternative or smaller projects’’.

Tony Abbott wanted to be our national leader. It’s time he started showing some national leadership. 

Infrastructure Australia’s Urban Transport Strategy can be found at: http://bit.ly/1g8ucQ6