Money Turnbull government finally buys into Melbourne's congestion problem

04:36  08 may  2018
04:36  08 may  2018 Source:   theage.com.au

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Despite this, the Turnbull government continues to back it. "[It] will finally connect the missing link in Melbourne ’ s freeway network– it’s a real solution, unlike the Liberals' “It’s definitely not a political statement, in our audit in 2015 we identified a congestion problem , which that initiative is supporting.”

The country' s chief infrastructure adviser has urged the NSW and Turnbull governments to create a 300-kilometre Sydney bicycle path network, prioritise parts of Parramatta and Victoria roads for public transport and transform Newcastle and Wollongong into true satellite cities through high-speed rail.

Malcolm Turnbull arrives with Treasurer Scott Morrison and Federal Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O'Dwyer at Melbourne Airport.© AAP Malcolm Turnbull arrives with Treasurer Scott Morrison and Federal Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Kelly O'Dwyer at Melbourne Airport.

In the past 50 years, federal and state governments have combined to build just one new rail line in Victoria, the $3.7 billion Regional Rail Link between Southern Cross Station and Werribee.

That figure just doubled and then some in the space of a morning.

Tomorrow’s budget will unlock billions for two new rail lines and one rail extension in Melbourne, plus hundreds of millions more to boost regional rail services for Gippsland and Geelong.

With $1.75 billion committed to the North East Link, the Turnbull government has also bought a stake in the Andrews government’s signature road pledge, to build the so-called missing link in Melbourne’s Ring Road.

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And there is now record investment going into rail freight. Instead of closing railway lines; the Turnbull Government is re-opening them. The cost of Melbourne ’ s congestion gridlock is estimated to rise from .6 billion to .2 billion in 2030.

“We cannot reduce congestion by building more roads since immediately we get more traffic to fill them up to the same speed as before. After decades of decline, public transport patronage in Melbourne is finally rising. The Victorian government is finally putting money into rail infrastructure to relieve

For once, the federal budget will be a boon for Victoria.

It will get $7.8 billion in federal funding for transport projects in Tuesday’s budget, a year after securing a paltry $500 million in new money from Canberra for rail upgrades.

After years of bickering about whether or not Victoria was being short-changed on infrastructure by a "Sydney-centric" Turnbull government, the money has finally started to flow south.

In political terms, perhaps the only loser out of this budget is state opposition leader Matthew Guy, who has been undermined by his federal counterparts just days after drawing a line in the sand over the North East Link, and stating that he would not sign contracts for the project.

The Coalition’s promise to remove 55 intersections in the suburbs, funded in part through the proceeds from the sale of Snowy Hydro, also appears to have been disregarded in Canberra.

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“In the end, Melbourne needs a cross-city rail tunnel and a cross-city road tunnel, which is the East West Link, or else we will never resolve this problem of congestion .” Hunt said the Victorian government had its “head in the sand” by refusing to build the East West Link.

The Turnbull Government will build the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, connecting the CBD and the airport for all Victorians and the 34 million people who use This is a truly city-shaping project that will slash travel times, bust congestion , boost the Victorian economy and create thousands of new jobs.

The biggest investment for Victoria has already been flagged: $5 billion towards building a rail line to Melbourne Airport.

There will also be $475 million to begin construction of a rail link to Monash University, and $225 million to extend suburban rail services from Frankston to Baxter, by electrifying the line two stops further south towards Stony Point.

For the regions, there is also $132 million to duplicate the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale and $50 million to support duplication of the line from South Geelong to fast-growing Waurn Ponds.

A further $140 million will be committed to a package of smaller projects to reduce urban road congestion.

In financial terms, it’s like a potholed one-lane goat track just opened up into a smooth eight-lane freeway.

But in case anyone thinks peace has suddenly broken out after years of war between the Turnbull and Andrews governments, agreement has not yet been reached about how this money should be spent.

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The Turnbull Government will build the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, connecting the CBD and the airport for all Victorians and the 34 million people who use This is a truly city-shaping project that will slash travel times, bust congestion , boost the Victorian economy and create thousands of new jobs.

The Turnbull government will target frustrated commuters in Tuesday' s budget. “Busting congestion in our cities is actually a very important economic objective.” In addition to funding the Melbourne rail line to Tullamarine airport, the government announced .5 billion in February for

The federal government owns a large amount of land at Maribyrnong that it has earmarked for new housing and has flagged the prospect of taking the airport rail link through there.

Labor in Victoria has already made crystal clear its desire to see an airport rail link built via Sunshine, as a way to connect Tullamarine directly to the state’s biggest regional cities of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.

Tellingly, its own budget last week did not include any new funding for an airport rail link.

An argument is also brewing over the Monash University link and whether it should be a light or heavy rail connection.

The Andrews government has already put aside $3 million in its 2017-18 budget to plan for a tram extension, beginning in Caulfield, running to Chadstone, Monash and perhaps to Rowville.

But federal Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said on Monday that he liked the idea of a heavy rail link, effectively breathing new life into the decades old proposal for Rowville rail.

In each case, only one government can have its way.

But these are just details.

The budget shows that the Turnbull government has calculated that it has more to gain than lose by burying the hatchet with what it views is a difficult Labor administration in Victoria and getting on and responding to Melbourne’s growing pains.

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