Questions marks over Western Distributor under Yarraville

A boost in public transport spending and moving more freight via rail could kill the need for the proposed Western Distributor, a public forum heard last week.

Last Tuesday night’s Western Distributor Community Forum, organised by western suburbs Greens MP Colleen Hartland and featuring speakers from the Maribyrnong Truck Action Group (MTAG) and Public Transport Not Traffic (PTNT), discussed Transurban’s
$5.5 billion freeway proposal, currently under state government consideration.

The proposal has twin 2.5-kilometre tunnels under Yarraville linked via an elevated motorway across Maribyrnong River to the CBD and CityLink, and a wider West Gate Freeway.

MTAG supports the proposal in principle, while PTNT campaign manager Berish Bilander says his group remains opposed.

He said too little thought was being given to moving the rapidly growing freight container load on to existing and new rail infrastructure.

Mr Bilander said a strong road lobby, vested trucking interests, the push by Transurban and an “ideological attachment to roads” meant rail solutions were being overlooked in a rush on roads.

Ms Hartland echoed this view, saying the $1.5 billion earmarked for Victoria should be put into rail projects and getting freight on rail.