29 August 2018 – With a nod to the upcoming Victorian state election, the Andrew’s Government has this week announced plans for a new $50 billion Melbourne underground suburban rail project. And should the Andrew’s Government be returned to office, Labor has pledged to invest $300 million in a full business case, design, and pre-construction works, with work on the first section in Melbourne’s south east expected to begin by the end of 2022.
Early planning and feasibility work, including identification of the project corridor, has already been completed by Development Victoria, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and the Office of the Coordinator General over the past year.
The announcement of the plans follows the recent trend of strong spending on regional and metropolitan infrastructure projects across the state. In a statement the Government said the Suburban Rail Loop would connect every major train line from the Frankston line all the way to the Werribee line through Melbourne Airport, with up to 12 new underground stations. The Government was also quick to highlight that regional Victorian passengers would also benefit with three new super-hubs at Clayton, Broadmeadows and Sunshine providing better connectivity to services.
According to the Government, the new line would cut levels of congestion across the entirety of Melbourne’s transport network and is expected to take thousands of passengers off existing rail lines, and 200,000 cars off major roads. By 2051 the Government expects the Suburban Rail Loop to be Victoria’s busiest rail line.
The Andrew’s Government has said that the project would create more than 20,000 jobs during construction – including 2,000 apprentices, trainees and cadets and would require State, Commonwealth and private sector contributions, as well as value capture opportunities to fully fund the project.