The Barnett Government's failure to include project funding for light rail in the State budget shows a lack of foresight, the WA Greens said today.
The Greens national spokesperson for transport, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, questioned whether the Barnett Government took the promise it made 18 months ago to bring light rail to Perth within a decade seriously.
"The State Government did not include light rail on its list of priorities for federal funding, it refused to commit to building the line of the so-called ‘Knowledge Arc' to reach either Curtin University or the University of Western Australia, and now - despite four million dollars from the Commonwealth - sets aside only a pittance for planning, and nothing for building light rail."
"The rail link between the airport and the Midland line - a project the RAC urged the Government to build as soon as possible - also misses out. The IMF predicts oil prices will double over the next decade, and the State Government continues to drag its feet on public transport investment. This will leave Western Australians acutely vulnerable to rising fuel costs and rising congestion."
Greens WA transport spokesperson Lynn MacLaren said the rapid transit bus route from Ellenbrook would have provided a much-needed service to a growing neighbourhood, had it not been left out of the state budget.
"There is no excuse for a half-baked approach to public transport. The WA Government is prepared to throw more than $600 million at the much-loathed Roe Highway extension, but less than one per cent of that sum for light rail, and nothing for the airport rail link or improved bus services."
"The COAG reform council's findings last month were a graphic confirmation that Australian cities are buckling under growing road congestion and unregulated growth, but neither major party is serious about tackling this problem. The proportion of people using public transport to get to work in Perth is only 10.7 per cent, even lower than the tiny national average of 13.5 per cent. The 89.3 per cent will pay a steep price as the cost of oil rises."