RACV welcomes State Budget focussed on transport

RACV has welcomed the State Government’s comprehensive commitment to transport and infrastructure spending in yesterday’s State Budget, but is disappointed that the missing North East Link in the Metropolitan Ring Road has again been ignored.

Major budget funding for transport in Melbourne

The State Budget includes fully funding the construction of the $10.9 billion Melbourne Metro Rail tunnel and the purchase of high passenger capacity trains. There is also $1.47 billion in State funding over four years to deliver the entire Western Distributor project in a joint project with Transurban, including the desperately needed upgrade and widening of the Monash Freeway out to the Shire of Cardinia.

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. The Melbourne Metro Rail project and the Western Distributor are both vital city-shaping projects that RACV has supported as part of a long-term, integrated transport plan for Melbourne and indeed the state.

The absence of any funding for the missing North East Link in the Metropolitan Ring Road is a significant concern. With Infrastructure Victoria to deliver its infrastructure plan by the end of the year, and Infrastructure Australia already highlighting the project as an infrastructure gap and priority initiative, the allocation of funding for planning in the forward estimates would seem timely.

Funding for regional transport, including fixing bad roads

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 the deteriorating roads across the state. Communities in the south-east and south-west of the State are crying out for funding to urgently fix their ageing roads.

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. Shepparton residents can also look forward to the development of a business case to improve the Shepparton Alternate Route. Unfortunately there is no commitment of funding for planning or constructing the Shepparton Bypass (updated 29/04/2016).

RACV also welcomes 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, giving residents and visitors to regional cities an alternative to a long drive.

Key metropolitan projects

Selected projects within the budget and its forward estimates are:

  • $11b Melbourne Metro Rail tunnel
  • Continuing $6.6b level crossing removal program
  • $1.47b Western Distributor project
  • $875m 28 extra High Capacity Metro Trains
  • $588m Mernda Rail Extension
  • $56m intersection upgrades along Hoddle Street
  • $50m Frankston Station Precinct upgrade
  • $148m Thompson Rd duplication
  • $126m Yan Yean Road duplication
  • $15m bus and train integration improvements
  • $13m Southland Station
  • $61m new E-class trams in 16/17
  • $69.8m for five six-car X’Trapolis trains in 16/17
  • $875m for high capacity trains.

Key regional projects

Selected projects within the budget and its forward estimates are:

  • $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
  • $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
  • Planning for better public transport to Armstrong Creek growth area (City of Greater Geelong)
  • Planning for track duplications between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds.

Business case preparation for future metropolitan projects

  • Armstrong-Ison Arterial (Wyndham Council area)
  • Derrimut Road duplication (Wyndham Council area)
  • Dohertys Road improvement (Stage 2) (Wyndham Council area)
  • Duncans Road interchange (Wyndham Council area)
  • Golf Links Road upgrade (Frankston and Mornington Peninsula Council areas)
  • Hallam Road duplication (Casey Council area)
  • Leakes Road duplication (Wyndham Council area)
  • Monash Freeway pavement works
  • Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road (Casey Council area)
  • Nepean Highway improvement plan (Bayside Councils)
  • Palmers Road upgrade (Wyndham Council area)
  • Western Port Highway and Thompsons Road interchange (Casey, Frankston, Greater Dandenong Council areas).

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Written by Brian Negus, General Manager Public Policy
April 29, 2016