27 April 2016
Victoria’s leading transport advocate RACV has welcomed the State Government’s commitment to transport and infrastructure spending in today’s state budget, including a pledge to fully fund the construction of the $10.9b Melbourne Metro Rail tunnel.
The package of commitments also includes $1.47 billion in funding over four years to deliver the entire Western Distributor project in a joint project with Transurban. The desperately needed upgrade and widening of the Monash Freeway out to the Shire of Cardinia, is part of this project.
RACV General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus, said both projects were hugely important to the state and to address Melbourne’s crippling congestion on roads and public transport.
“The Melbourne Metro Rail project and the Western Distributor are both vital city-shaping projects that RACV has long called for as part of a long-term, integrated transport plan for Melbourne and indeed the state.
“Victoria is the fastest growing state in the nation and both projects are needed if we are to cope with the city’s expected expansive population growth and to improve liveability for all Victorians well into the future,” Mr Negus said.
The boost to improve Victoria’s country roads including $45m for road restoration and an increase of $130m for road maintenance, goes a long way to fixing our deteriorating roads across the state.
Mr Negus said RACV was disappointed that the completion of the Metropolitan Ring Road from Greensborough to Ringwood did not feature in the government’s road and infrastructure planning.
“The integrated transport plan for Melbourne must include completion of the North East Link in the Metropolitan Ring Road which remains RACV’s top road priority given its importance as a road of national significance.
“While we welcome today’s announcements, the massive congestion across the North East of Melbourne will not improve without the ‘missing link’ being built as a matter of urgency.”
Mr Negus also welcomed the government‘s $1.3b spend on improved regional public transport including the duplication of the Ballarat line from Deer Park to Melton.
More than 170 extra off-peak services will be added across the regional network on the Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Gippsland, Shepparton and Warrnambool rail lines.
The continued duplication of Victoria's major regional highways beyond Ballarat, Winchelsea and Traralgon, with a commitment of $153 million, delivers on RACV's call for these projects to be completed.
Mr Negus said Shepparton residents will be thrilled to hear money has been committed to develop the business case for the construction of the Shepparton Bypass.
“The Shepparton Bypass is another big ticket project that is long overdue. It must proceed to improve the safety and liveability of Shepparton and enable trucks on the busy Melbourne to Brisbane route to bypass the town.
Key metropolitan projects from today’s Budget, including Forward Estimates, that are welcomed by RACV include:
- $11b Melbourne Metro Rail tunnel
- $1.47 b Western Distributor project
- $875m 28 extra High Capacity Metro Trains
- $588 Mernda Rail Extension.
- $50 million Frankston Station Precinct Upgrade
- $148m Thompson Rd duplication between Narre Warren Cranbourne Road
- $126m Yan Yean Road duplication
- $15m bus and train integration improvements
Key regional projects from today’s Budget welcomed by RACV include:
- $1.3b for regional rail, including $518 million upgrade to the Ballarat line, $131 million increased regional rail services and $280 million for 27 new VLocity carriages
- $427m regional road safety improvements
- $153 million for continued commitment to duplicate regional highways
- $102.6 million for Drysdale Bypass
- $266 million for road safety improvements, including many identified by RACV and AusRAP
- Shepparton Bypass business case