Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan says the formation of the new Transport for Victoria entity will be crucial for the roll-out of Ballarat’s boom $518 million rail pledge.
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The umbrella organisation is expected to be up and running by the end of the year and will oversee the co-ordination of transport bodies such as VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria.
Ms Allan said TFV will allow for improved co-ordination between road and rail bodies during infrastructure works, with the state budget allocation featuring the construction of a new passing loop near Bungaree alongside the removal of five level crossings on the existing Bungaree loop.
"It (TFV) will coordinate services during our half-a-billion dollar upgrade of the Ballarat line, ensuring our road and rail networks are working together to get people where they need to go,” Ms Allan said.
Both PTV and VicRoads will continue to run day-to-day operations as usual, but will report to TFV as the umbrella agency.
The idea is to allow TFV to become a single source for data about road, train, tram, bus, taxi and freight networks, which in theory, would help commuters.
Public Transport Users Association Ballarat convener Ben Lever said only time will tell when gauging if the new facilitator will benefit local commuters, but was wary of the body providing another level of bureaucracy to navigate.
“On the one hand, there is potential for greater co-ordination between road planning and public transport planning, which is great,” he said.
“On the other hand, there's a chance it could just create another level of bureaucracy, without leading to better outcomes. The last thing we need is another multi-million dollar rebranding exercise that doesn't actually achieve practical results.
Consultation will be carried out in coming months with key stakeholders, while legislation will be introduced to establish the new body later this year.
Opposition public transport spokesman David Hodgett said the formation of TFV was confusing.
“We’re sort of having a look at it and you’ve already got PTV and VicRoads there,” he said.
“There are other bodies already in the government (to co-ordinate works) – I’m not sure where the gap is.”
Works on the rail line will begin in 2017, with a tender to be announced around the start of the new year.
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