The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, has described Labor’s Greater Hobart Transport Plan as a missed opportunity that won’t solve Denison’s traffic congestion.
“This plan is too focused on roads and will keep people in their cars stuck in traffic jams,’’ Mr Wilkie said. “A solution to Denison’s traffic problems must include light rail, ferries and more bike lanes and buses. The quickest way to reduce traffic jams is to encourage people out of their cars and into alternative forms of transport. The only way to do this is to invest in trains, buses, bike lanes and ferries. What we don’t need is another study. We need investment.’’
Mr Wilkie supports restoring passenger rail across Tasmania. In particular, he is a strong advocate for a Northern Suburbs Light Rail from Hobart to at least Granton because it will link communities, reduce road congestion, save money and help clean up the environment. He believes that Labor, the Liberals and the Greens are all failing on light rail and has urged all parties to commit to funding the project.
Bike riding is environmentally sustainable, inexpensive, healthy and often convenient. Mr Wilkie supports the Bicycle Network’s proposal for a $240m national bike fund to fund bicycle infrastructure and the Build for Bikes program which would ensure bike infrastructure is included in all federally-funded projects. Mr Wilkie supports the proposal for cycling that would, among other things, establish an Active Transport Fund, ensuring that bicycle infrastructure is considered in federal transport funding, fixing bike blackspots and investing in active transport.
There is also a need to greatly improve Hobart’s bus services. Recent route and schedule changes have created significant problems and indeed Mr Wilkie has received dozens of complaints, none of which the State Government is willing to act on. Moreover the recent State Budget announcement of purchasing new buses misses the opportunity to start replacing diesel buses with electric- or gas-powered vehicles.