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Locals pay for Labor’s Transurban deal

Reading a Newspaper

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Evelyn motorists can’t get local traffic bottlenecks fixed, but Daniel Andrews is shamelessly forcing them to pay for his West Gate Tunnel deal.

Member for Evelyn, Bridget Vallence MP, said drivers going in to Melbourne via CityLink will take a hip pocket hit after the Andrews Labor Government signed a secretive deal with Transurban that will increase tolls to pay for a completely different new road – the West Gate Tunnel.

The Parliamentary Budget Office has released a report into the West Gate Tunnel Project and CityLink tolls which estimates the deal struck by the Andrews Labor Government will cost motorists an extra $37.3 billion in tolls.

The analysis shows that $26.5 billion of that increase (around 71 per cent) will come exclusively from CityLink users – and that includes Evelyn drivers who use the tollway when coming in to the city via the Monash or Tullamarine Freeways.

“Our local regional roads are in appalling condition due to funding cuts by the Andrews Labor Government yet the arrogant Premier for Melbourne is making us help pay for his new Melbourne tunnel.

​“We can’t even get our petitions on existing issues acknowledged by the State Labor Government but under Daniel Andrews’ sneaky deal with Transurban, we’ll be forced to pay for city infrastructure we aren’t even using.

​“This is hugely unfair, especially when Evelyn roads are suffering from congestion and infrastructure issues that have been neglected by the Andrews Labor Government. Over 76% of Evelyn residents commute to work by car and our road networks are already struggling.

​“The Kinley Estate development is expected to bring another 10,000 people into our community with no tangible transport infrastructure upgrades so far. Rural intersections, such as Maroondah Highway and Killara Road in Coldstream, have become bottlenecks following significant population growth. Warburton Highway carries a high volume of passenger cars, buses and heavy trucks every day, yet lacks pedestrian crossings, barriers or footpaths right outside Wandin North Primary School.

“It is gobsmacking that while refusing to fix regional roads, Daniel Andrews is arrogantly slugging country drivers to pay for his Melbourne tunnel deal.”

Labor has axed the $160 million Country Roads and Bridges program and slashed hundreds of thousands more from VicRoads country maintenance budget.

Last year Labor MPs refused to support a Liberal Nationals’ amendment to the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill that would have increased funding for country roads.

​Ms Vallence said the cost of doing business would also skyrocket as a result of Labor’s deal.

“Commercial vehicles already pay higher tolls, so any movement of fresh produce or freight that goes across the state via Melbourne will also cost more with Labor’s toll increases, and there will be a third commercial category added under this new deal.” Ms Vallence said.

“Evelyn is the gateway to the Yarra Valley. The last thing our farmers and regional businesses need is escalating costs, but that’s exactly what the Premier for Melbourne’s dodgy Transurban deal delivers.”

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