Victorian Budget – the $27bn infrastructure pledge


State Government spruiks spending for better connections with export markets

Victorian Budget – the $27bn infrastructure pledge
O’Brien and Napthine: catering for growing freight demands

 

The Victorian Government has released an ambitious Budget with $27 billion in new infrastructure spending as its centrepiece with the potential to put a dent in growing metropolitan traffic and freight congestion.

With transport taking $24 billion of that, two of the headline items are $8-$10 billion East West Link western section and the $8.5-$11 billion Melbourne Rail Link, including the Airport Rail Link, which, along with the Cranbourne-Pakenham Rail Corridor project, can be expected to handle or divert increased commuter demand.

"Projects like Melbourne Rail Link and the East West Link are generational projects that will transform how people travel and enable goods to be moved more efficiently," Victorian Premier Dennis Napthine says.

"We are delivering this infrastructure program to keep pace with population growth, generate jobs and cater to growing freight demands."

Treasurer Michael O’Brien also highlighted the centrepiece, saying it was "the most ambitious infrastructure agenda seen in this state for decades" and would "shape Victoria for the next decade and beyond".

Freight and passenger rail also gets attention along with road spending, whith both including:

  • Up to $850 million for the CityLink-Tulla Widening project, in partnership with the private sector, to ease congestion and move people and freight to and from the airport faster.
  • $685 million level crossing removal program – removing a further four level crossings
  • $130 million in additional funding for road maintenance and restoration, taking the total annual commitment to more than $500 million
  • $180-$220 million to upgrade country rail freight lines in Western Victoria, including upgrading the Mildura to Maryborough and Murtoa to Hopetoun lines and standardising the key Mildura to Geelong rail link
  • $362 million for duplication of the Princess Highway West – 37 km of highway between Winchelsea and Colac
  • $11 million for upgrading Princess Highway East – three new overtaking lanes between Nowa Nowa and Orbost and additional $30 million upgrade of the Sands Road interchange.

The big ticket projects would be supported by other transport initiatives in Melbourne and regional areas, including:

  • $467.9 million on major road upgrades including the Princes Highway West duplication, Princes Highway East passing lanes and Sand Road interchange, Pioneer Road duplication and upgrade of the Great Ocean Road
  • $86 million to remove the Ravenswood interchange on the Calder Highway
  • $685.3 million to remove level crossings at Blackburn Road, Burke Road, North Road and Main Road, St Albans – part of a program of 40 level crossings removals
  • More than $500 million for road maintenance and restoration in 2014-15
  • $58 million for a Port Rail Shuttle to improve transport efficiency at the Port of Melbourne, Australia’s busiest container port
  • $43.8 million for safety upgrades to the City Loop
  • $56.2 million for the Transport Solutions initiative which delivers targeted projects that reduce bottlenecks on key freight routes in regional Victoria. 

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