Airport Rail Link
What’s included: A train service linking Tullamarine airport to CBD via Sunshine, and on to south-eastern suburbs via the Cranbourne and Pakenham train lines, with airport-to-city services taking 30 minutes. Set to start in 2022 with completion in 2029.
How much is being spent in this budget: $5 billion from state government, matched by federal funding.
Who will benefit and how: Peter Kartsidimas says anyone in the state who lives near rail will be able to reach the airport by train with just one transfer, or none at all for Cranbourne and Pakenham line passengers. In addition, the 20,000 people who work at the airport will have a new commuting option.
RACV view: An airport rail link has been one of the priority infrastructure projects RACV has advocated for over many years. Although it is a long timeframe, it will relieve pressure on the Tullamarine Freeway and give travellers greater choice and improved access to and from the airport from across Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Suburban Rail Loop
What’s included: A radial rail loop connecting Melbourne’s middle suburbs and including early works to deliver new or upgraded stations at Cheltenham, Burwood, Box Hill, Clayton, Monash and Glen Waverley.
How much is being spent: $2.2 billion for stage one.
Who will benefit and how: Peter Kartsidimas says anyone who lives, works or studies near one of the new stations will get good access to rail. He adds there is also a great opportunity to build thriving activity centres around these stations – incorporating housing, jobs and education – to support the local community and help reshape the city.
RACV view: The Suburban Rail Loop will deliver a valuable connection between some of Melbourne’s most significant suburban activity centres. It is important that the project business case realises the importance of managing both delivery and budget, while recognising the full potential for the community in terms of access and opportunities for residential, social connection, education and employment.
Geelong Fast Rail
What’s included: Track upgrades and a dedicated express track to cut the Geelong-to-Melbourne rail commute times to 50 minutes.
How much is being spent: $2 billion in this state budget, matched by federal funds, for stage one between Werribee and Newport, starting in 2023.
Who will benefit and how: Peter Kartsidimas says people commuting between Melbourne and Geelong will have access to a faster and more reliable service, and those who use the Melton, Wyndham, Ballarat and Bendigo lines will also enjoy improved reliability as Geelong-to-Melbourne trains will free up capacity on those lines.
RACV view: RACV has been calling for faster and improved rail services to Geelong for some time. Although the travel time is longer than originally envisaged, RACV welcomes the announcement that stage-one of the Geelong Fast Rail will be delivered. RACV would also like to see a commitment to further improvements, including the Metro 2 project, and new train stations and metro services for Wyndham, in Melbourne’s fast-growing west.
Regional road and rail network
What’s included: Investment in building, upgrading and maintaining regional Victoria’s road and rail network, stage three of the Shepparton Rail Line Upgrade and the Warrnambool Rail Line Upgrade.
How much is being spent: $2.7 billion
Who will benefit and how: Regional Victorians will have access to safer roads and faster and more reliable rail services.
RACV view: RACV welcomes the state’s ongoing commitment to upgrading regional Victoria’s rail and road network. Regional Victorians are continuing to tell us that they want to see a greater commitment to upgrading the operation and condition of the rail and road network to improve safety and reduce travel times. This investment will go some way to addressing the existing backlog in the maintenance of the road network, as well as providing more reliable rail services to regional Victorians.