MAX Light Rail: breaking of election promise causes outcry

MAX Light Rail: breaking of election promise causes outcry

THE State Government’s decision to abandon Perth light rail from the transport plan has elicited angry local reactions.

Vincent Mayor John Carey told the Guardian Express he was “extremely disappointed” by the announcement.

“The City has held off and property owners have held off from a larger renewal of the North Perth town centre based on the provision that light rail would be built,” he said.

“The City has been investigating the town centre and what we can do to enhance it. It is extremely disappointing that there has been so much inconsistency and flip-flopping in public transport planning.”

Liberal MP for Perth Eleni Evangel said although light rail appeared to be the best option in 2012, “technology changes”.

She suggested there were already abundant private cars, commercial vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists “sharing the road”, and that Perth does not have the “wide roads Melbourne has” to accommodate a comprehensive light rail system.

“All the major European and Asian cities are tunnelling,” she said.

“Even Athens has an extensive underground transport system; and they had to stop every five minutes because of ancient ruins. We don’t have anything like that here.”

Ms Evangel said an underground heavy rail line from Perth to Morley, linking with ECU’s Mount Lawley campus, was basically an “upgrade” of the now defunct MAX Light Rail proposal.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan was less upbeat.

“The Transport Minister confirmed the Liberals’ latest half-baked, un-costed and unfunded transport pipedream will not include the light rail plan originally promised,” he said.

“The Liberals have no credibility on transport. You just can’t trust them. They lied when they said MAX was fully-funded and fully-costed; it was a lie to get elected.”

“We are looking at creating a transport plan that would service the Perth electorate,” Ms Evangel.

“I would love to see an underground rail line from Perth to Morley. I am hoping for a station in one of our community centres like North Perth, with obviously other modes of transport feeding into it.”

She said she wanted to avoid “anything that would see the electorate of Perth treated like a thoroughfare by commuters from the northern suburbs heading into the city”.

“We need to keep the surface for the local traffic, the local businesses, the bike riders and the pedestrians.”

Mr Carey, who is the Labor candidate for Perth at next year’s State Election, said the Government’s unpredictability had hampered local efforts to develop the area.

“The State Government said it had a fully funded, costed plan for a line to Mirrabooka,” he said.

“You just don’t know what they are doing. First there was the promise of light rail, then the buses, then light rail again, and now it’s off the table.”