THE Australian Government has committed $5 billion to a proposed rail link connecting Melbourne Airport to the CBD, with an expectation that the Victorian Government signs up to a 50:50 funding partnership to build and own the new infrastructure.
In a joint statement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Urban Infrastructure and Cities Minister Paul Fletcher said talk about a rail connection to the Melbourne Airport is as old as the airport itself but could now become a reality through the Commonwealth's proposed investment.
"The time for talk is over. There have been countless reviews, reports and recommendations but Melbourne is still waiting for a service almost all of the world's great cities take for granted. This is a truly city-shaping project that will slash travel times, bust congestion, boost the Victorian economy and create thousands of new jobs," they said.
"Our $5 billion congestion-busting investment will also help reduce the strain on the Tullamarine Freeway which is one of the busiest roads in Victoria, catering to up to 210,000 vehicles a day.
"There are several proposed routes which involve above-ground, underground and combined solutions. We expect that the results of the business case process, which we initiated at the 2017-18 Budget, will soon provide a clearer picture on the best route, best mode of transport and cost of the project.
"We want the Victorian Government to partner with us in a true 50:50 funding partnership to build and own this iconic piece of infrastructure. We also welcome the involvement of the private sector."
Melbourne Airport is the nation's second busiest airport with forecasts indicating a throughput of 60 million passengers by 2030. Sydney and Brisbane airports are connected to the city by rail, and in Perth, an airport rail link is under construction.
In addition to benefitting airport users and employees, the rail link is also expected to have wider benefits depending upon the final route and design chosen, including;
- Rail access to areas to the north and west of the airport, potentially allowing them to be opened up for housing release;
- Improved connectivity to regional Victoria, particularly to the north and west of Melbourne;
- New rail stations located between Melbourne and the airport; and
- Freeing up the Tullamarine and Calder freeways.