Greater federal public transport investment needed to curb $16.5B congestion nightmare

The Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) said the Federal Government embracing new partnerships with State and Territory Governments to build new public transport projects is paramount to reducing Australia’s growing congestion burden which is now costing $16.5 billion.

The cost of transport congestion in Australia’s capital cities is estimated to reach $37.3 billion by 2030 on the current trajectory according to the analysis by the Federal Government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.

“If we want to slow and even curb the cost of congestion on our cities we need to see the Federal Government willing to put money on the table to fund more public transport projects – that’s the reality of the challenge we are facing,” said Margy Osmond, TTF CEO.

“The State and Territory Governments really need to get cracking on putting together their business and funding cases for new public transport projects.

“They’ve been caught by surprise with the rapid change of attitude towards public transport in Canberra but they can’t let shock keep them from getting good proposals in front of the Federal Government as soon as possible.

“We know that congestion is a massive cost on our cities and their efficiency.

“Liveable and accessible cities are attractive destinations for tourists which is why we need to see more action to reduce congestion. Time is a premium for any traveller and being stuck in traffic trying to navigate your way around is not an experience to promote back home or encourage a return visit.

“Great cities of the world have strong public transport that allows their citizens and paying visitors access to key locations in the city with ease – that’s what we need to see more on in Australian cities if we are to remain a top tourist destination in the years ahead.

“Prime Minister Turnbull has set a new direction for the Federal Government that does seem more willing to look at the merits of federal funding outside of roads, but we really need to see that new spirit advanced to backing real projects with real budgets.

“All of our capital cities have grand visions for new public transport projects that include heavy rail, metro and light rail. What we need to see are strong business cases to secure funding.”