Monday 20th May, 2019

Morrison signs up for Melbourne Airport Rail Link

Photo: Melbourne Airport

The Coalition has made a serious bid for votes in Victoria ahead of the forthcoming federal election, signing a joint agreement with the Andrews Government to build the Melbourne Airport Rail Link.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday announced the sides had formally signed off on the MARL, each committing $5 billion to see the project through. The total cost of the project is estimated at between $8 billion and $13 billion.

Morrison said the people of Victoria had waited too long for the rail link to become a reality.

“For decades Victorians have talked about a train line to the airport,” the PM said. “We are delivering it. Melbourne is truly a global city that deserves world class infrastructure. The Rail Link is part of our plan to bust congestion across the city, and get people home faster and safer.”

Premier Andrews said the Victorian Government didn’t want to waste any time moving forwards with the project, after both state and federal sides agreed last year on a preferred route for the Link, known as the Sunshine Route.

“By choosing the Sunshine route, we are ensuring all Victorians can benefit from the rail link, including people living in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo,” Andrews said.

“As we complete the business case, we’re also doing the work needed to deliver fast rail to the regions.”

Melbourne Airport handled more than 36 million passenger movements in FY18, making it easily Australia’s busiest airport without a direct passenger rail link.

With a rail link currently being built to Perth Airport, Melbourne would be the only Australian airport servicing more than 9 million annual trips without rail access.

Planning is already underway for a Business Case for the MARL, with Rail Projects Victoria currently engaging expert technical and commercial advisers for the project.

Rail Projects Victoria reported interest from more than 100 local and global organisations in recent market engagement activities.

With a targeted start-date for construction in 2022, the rail link is expected to take up to nine years to build.

“This is a critical project for Melbourne. It will make it easier for residents and make our city more attractive to visitors,” federal cities and urban infrastructure minister Alan Tudge said.

“When complete, someone in Pakenahm, Frankston or Ringwood will be able to get onto the train, and be at the airport in the time it would have taken to drive, but without having to worry about parking.”

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