Jun 5, 2012
Tuesday June 5, 2012
Community-based advocacy groups expressed disappointment in today’s budget announcement, saying the lack of real funding for public transport calls into question the ACT Government’s commitment to its own 40% emissions reduction target.
“The recent debate over Light Rail for the Civic to Gungahlin Transit Corridor shows that Canberrans are ready to pay for public transport that works,” Canberra Loves 40% spokesperson Phoebe Howe said. “All this budget gives us is a new office to investigate further. If we are serious about reaching a 40% emissions reduction target by 2020, we need to commit $200m toward the first stage of a light rail network this year.”
Heated public debate sparked by the Civic to Gungahlin transit corridor report has shown overwhelming support for the first stage of a light rail system for Canberra. While debate rages about the cost of solving Canberra’s growing congestion woes rages, recent Government consultations indicate over 70% of Canberrans support light rail.
ACT Light Rail Chair Damien Haas said, “This government has wasted opportunity after opportunity to deliver light rail. It talks light rail at every election, and every year Canberra’s bus based public transport gets worse. It needs to fund light rail not just talk about it.”
Ms Howe continued, “Transport makes up 23% of the ACT’s total emissions footprint. Canberrans need a modern rapid public transport system, powered by renewable energy, that makes it easy and appealing to leave the car at home.
“Our leaders continue to use cost as an excuse for inaction. What we don’t talk about is the cost to Canberrans of paying for roads, petrol, parking, and congestion as our population grows, not to mention the cost to our environment. Light rail is a solution that will reduce our emissions, and it’s a solution the majority of Canberrans want.
“That’s why Canberra Loves 40% is calling for a $200m commitment to the first stage of a light rail network this election. We need to get serious and get on with starting the project.
“A light rail system will transform Canberra. We are calling on our leaders to commit to a modern light rail transit system this election to finally do it right, do it once and do it now.”