by Evelyn Leckie
PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has announced a $50 million injection to bust traffic congestion on the Hume Freeway as part of the Coalition Government’s Urban Congestion Fund.
“We want Melburnians to get home sooner and safer with help from our Urban Congestion Fund,” the Prime Minister said.
“Our plan for a stronger economy means we can back the local projects that will help bust congestion around the city and suburbs.
“I want people to spend less time stuck in traffic jams and more time at home with their families and working in their businesses, that’s what matters,” the Prime Minister said.
In 2011, 2,500 vehicles travelled on the Hume during peak hour periods and it’s expected to jump to 4,300 by 2031.
Mitchell Shire Mayor, Bill Chisholm said it was great to see a commitment to the shire’s roads from the federal government.
“We welcome any funding which improves our roads,” Cr Chisholm said.
“We will continue to work with our state and federal governments to achieve the best roads outcome for our shire.”
Mitchell Shire will be heading to Canberra on Wednesday, February 13 to discuss their top advocacy policies which includes the petition for Watson Street – Hume Freeway interchange funding.
Whittlesea Council also welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement to upgrade the Hume Freeway between Beveridge and the M80 Ring Road.
Whittlesea Council Mayor Lawrie Cox said the upgrade will certainly help to accommodate the morning peak experienced in the northern parts of the Whittlesea municipality.
“The funding however falls short of addressing the increasing transport needs generated in our growth areas and we are looking forward to further announcements in the lead up to the Federal election,” Cr Cox said.
“We are hopeful that further road funding announcements in coming weeks will include the E6 Freeway.”
Cr Cox said the population in the areas serviced by the E6 transport corridor was anticipated to increase by 186 per cent over the next 20 years from 129,000 people to 241,000 people.
“This road is currently not scheduled for another 15 to 30 years and we are asking for the Federal Government to bring forward the timeframe to construct this road,” he said.
Federal Member for McEwan Rob Mitchell said Labor has been fighting the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government for over 5 years to secure funding for the community.
“After five years of dudding Victoria with as little as 7.7 per cent of the national infrastructure spend, Scott Morrison’s belated plans to widen some of Melbourne’s road bottlenecks are welcome, it’s a case of too little, too late” Mr Mitchell said.
“Victorians make up a quarter of the national population.
“We deserve better than Mr Morrison’s cuts and broken promises.
“We now await to see if the funding is allocated in this year’s budget or is it another unfunded con just to win votes on the eve of an election,” Mr Mitchell said.