Federal government focuses on Victorian road and rail

Federal government puts $1.5 billion up for Victorian roads and rail, but only if matched by their state counterpart

Federal government focuses on Victorian road and rail
Federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester calls on Victorian government to match its offer.


The federal government has announced $1.5 billion for Victorian roads and rail projects, to be offered before the May 3 Budget, if the Victorian government is willing to match it ‘dollar for dollar’.

According to federal infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester, the finances are on the table for upgrading the Monash Freeway, Western Ring Road, Murray Basin Freight Rail, and rural and regional roads.

Initiatives covering urban congestion and the Melbourne Metro are also in the government’s sights, but all funds are dependent on Infrastructure Australia assessments and positive economic benefits.

"The centrepiece of our new commitment is a billion-dollar upgrade of the congested Monash Freeway serving the communities of South Eastern Melbourne," Chester says in a statement.

"We now look forward to the Andrews Government providing its agreement to these projects and matching our funding commitment to Victorians—dollar for dollar."

Chester says the federal government is still committed to the East West Link, and is willing to hand over $3 billion to the project, but would like to see the $1.5 billion it handed to the Victorian government used to "grow the economy and jobs and improve the lives of all Victorians."

On the Monash Freeway upgrade, Chester would like to see the current $400 million project slatted by the Victorian government to be expanded along the stretch west towards the EastLink interchange and east from Clyde Road.

The move would require $500 million from each party, the minister says, and would bring the number of new lanes to two in each direction.

The Western Ring Road would receive $350 million in funding from Canberra under the proposal, funds allocated to three sections of the kilometre M80 Western Ring Road corridor and the installation of Intelligent Transport Systems.

Chester says the impact would be felt by those travelling to and from the Port of Melbourne, the Melbourne Airport, and interstate.

Regional and rural roads will also gain a $345 million update, though apart from sections of the Great Ocean Road, projects have not been determined at this stage, the federal government says.

The announcement of unallocated funds extends to tackling urban congestion, where Chester says $75 million will be on offer to the best options.

For the Murray Basin Freight Rail, the federal government is looking towards a gauge standardisation and 1,000km of freight rail being strengthened.

The $220 million upgrade "will significantly improve connections to the ports of Geelong and Portland," Chester says, and provide primary producers with better access to international markets.

When it comes to metropolitan rail, Chester says the government will commit $10 million to investigate "the impacts on urban renewal and access to jobs and housing provided by route selection and station locations."




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