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RACV members say better public transport is the best way to fix Melbourne's congestion woes - despite the fact the lobby group has been pushing fiercely for the controversial $8 billion east-west link.
A survey has shown the most pressing traffic issue for the group's members was congestion, and many respondents believed the best way to address that problem was by improving trains, tram and bus services.
The survey results contradict the transport and motoring giant's strong advocacy of roads projects.
RACV's general manager of public policy Brian Negus presented the results of members' transport-related concerns at the recent Northern Business Achievement Awards, The Melbourne Times Weekly Review reports.
According to the group's two million members - which represents almost half of the state's 4.25 million residents - 86 per cent said traffic congestion was their biggest concern. The preferred way to address it was improved public transport, with 16 per cent of the vote, followed by more or improved roads.
Despite the results, the RACV maintains its greatest priority is the controversial east-west link, estimated to cost between $8 and $10 billion.
Once completed it will connect Melbourne's northern and western suburbs via a tunnel that will join the Eastern Freeway to the Western Ring Road. The tunnel will be dug under homes in Collingwood, Clifton Hill and Fitzroy as part of stage one to connect the Eastern Freeway to CityLink.
The state government and other supporters of the project have said the link is urgently needed to reduce pressure on existing cross-city connections and improve liveability in the inner north, which is affected by through-traffic.
Mr Negus said the group has consistently advocated for an “an integrated transport plan” that includes metro rail tunnel connecting South Kensington to South Yarra.
“It is also important to note that better roads don't only benefit motorists; they benefit the freight movements which deliver goods to our businesses and homes and they benefit the 85 per cent of all kilometres travelled on public transport which occur on roads,” he said.
“For example, buses are just as reliant on a continuous, connected and efficient road network as the private car.”
Mr Negus said the group had a “long and proud history” of lobbying for improve transport outcomes and did he did not agree with a 'roads versus public transport' stance.
The survey is the second in as many years that members have directly told RACV their biggest concerns did not involve east-west link.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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