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Macquarie Bank would consider investing in Melbourne's ailing public transport system in conjunction with the State Government, councils or community groups, the company's executive director has said.
Robert Dunlop said a the recommendation contained in a report, which calls for a major boost to public transport funding and extension of services, are very similar to those submitted to the State Government three year ago.
The Metropolitan Transport Forum report, launched this morning, warns that the city's system of trains, trams and buses will grind to a halt without massive investment.
The study was co-authored by Professor Peter Newman, an academic at Murdoch University and a leading sustainability researcher.
At today's launch, Prof Newman said the State Government's goal of ensuring that 20 per cent of the trips taken in and around Melbourne by 2020 would be on public transport would not be reached unless urgent action was taken.
He called for the extension and construction of train lines to outer-urban growth areas, including the Doncaster and Rowville corridors. An increase in rail capacity and the duplication of single-track lines was also needed.
"We do need to keep livability high. It's a constant process of winning that. The important initiatives like the regional fast rail are all-important and do need to be recognised, but what is next, especially for the two-thirds (of the population) which lives outside the train and tram network?"
Mr Dunlop chaired the transport subcommittee of the Infrastructure Planning Council, formed in 2000, soon after the Bracks government was first elected.
He the six recommendations put forward by the MTF were "almost identical" to those in the council's final report, which it submitted to the State Government in August 2002.
Mr Dunlop said business groups had also conducted their own surveys, which came up with similar findings to those of the MTF report.
When asked whether Macquarie would invest in bonds to fund public transport, he said: "I think any innovation in terms of funding public transport or funding infrastructure is good.
"If states or even individual communities can look at innovative ways to fund these things then we'd gladly work with them and assist in those sort of projects.
"It's certainly an area which we've thought about a lot and if we could get some traction there it would be most welcome, and the infrastructure users and local councils and the communities would be the beneficiaries."
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