A hefty $5 billion has been pledged towards Melbourne’s long awaited airport rail line in an announcement by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
In a debate that has spanned decades, the Prime Minister declared funding for the seven-time world’s most liveable city, to finally receive its rail link connecting Tullamarine airport to Melbourne’s CBD.
Plans include federal government to retain a 50 per cent ownership stake in the airport rail line. The rail link relies on the state matching the federal government’s investment.
While current estimates are that the project could reach $15 billion in costs, the Prime Minister says private investment is welcomed.
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The $500 billion commitment from the government will be the single largest infrastructure investment featured in the upcoming May federal budget.
There are currently four different route options on the table. While the route will be worked out in conjunction with the Victorian government, a $30 million study due September will assess each option.
Work on preliminary business for the airport rail line started last September.
Suggestions that works could be under way by 2020 was described by the Prime Minister as “ambitious” in an interview with 3AW radio host Neil Mitchell, however Turnbull said construction of the airport link would begin within the next few years, well before 2025.
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It’s estimated 60 million commuters a year will use the airport line by 2030.
A rail link to Melbourne Airport has been discussed since Tullamarine first opened in 1970.
With this new investment, the Commonwealth now has $17.5 billion committed to transport infrastructure projects in Victoria – including the $3 billion put aside for the East West Link.