A rail link to the airport should be a higher priority than other major infrastructure projects, according to 34 per cent of voters in a Herald Sun/Galaxy Poll. Source: News Limited
Victorians want a rail line to the airport ahead of a new rail tunnel through inner Melbourne or the East West Link, a Herald Sun/Galaxy Poll has found.
More than one-third of voters surveyed in the poll said a city to airport rail link should be a higher priority than other major infrastructure projects promised by the Government and State Opposition.
Those surveyed were able to nominate what they thought was the most important project out of the airport link, the Metro rail capacity project that will link northwest Melbourne to South Yarra, getting rid of 50 of the worst rail crossings, or the East West Link from Sunshine to the Eastern Freeway.
While 34 per cent said the airport project was number one, 30 per cent nominated Labor’s big transport promise – getting rid of 50 dangerous level crossings – as the highest priority project.
The Coalition Government’s big ticket infrastructure project, the East West Link, came in next, tied with building the Metro rail tunnel.
Both Labor and Coalition supporters chose the airport rail link above any other project as the most important transport need.
Public transport users association president Tony Morton said removing the level crossings would have wide benefits across the whole of Melbourne, while the airport link had substantial community support and was long overdue.
“If it’s what’s going to have the most day-to-day benefit, it’s probably the level crossings,” Mr Morton said.
“If it’s about economic impact and business importance to the state, it’s likely to be the airport link.”
Mr Morton said all options were ultimately hypothetical until the government committed to build one.
“We have to see the money on the table before we have any real debate on this
“It’s going to take more than one big project announcement to get things back on track; we’ve largely wasted the last three years not starting any projects,” he said.
RACV public policy manager Brian Negus said transport would be a crucial issue at November’s state election.
“Congestion already costs the state economy $3 billion per year, with this cost set to increase to $6 billion per year by 2020,” Mr Negus said.
He said the RACV wanted a pipeline of projects to combat congestion and support economic growth.
The completion of the Metropolitan Ring Road was at the top of the RACV’s priority list.
POLL RESULT: Which one of these projects do you think the state government should give the highest priority?
Building a city-airport rail link: 34%
Removing Victoria’s worst 50 level crossings: 30%
Building the East West Link between Sunshine and the Eastern Freeway: 15%
Building a Melbourne Metro rail tunnel: 15%
THE BIG PROJECTS – WHERE THE PARTIES STAND
City-airport rail link
LABOR: Not viewed as a priority after it was taken off the Brumby Government’s agenda in 2010. Says it will not build an Airport rail link before Melbourne Metro.
COALITION: Has promised to build an airport rail link. Likely to be included in plans for the Metro Rail Capacity Project that wouldn’t start construction until later this decade.
The East West Link
LABOR: Does not support the project but says it will not rip up contracts for Stage One (from the Eastern Fwy to CityLink in Parkville) if signed before the November election.
COALITION: Wants to build the full 18km link from the Eastern Fwy to the Western Ring Rd. Has promised to start Stage One, which will cost $6-8 billion and connect the Eastern Fwy to CityLink in Parkville, this year.
Removing Victoria’s worst 50 level crossings
LABOR: If elected promises to remove the 50 worst level crossings within eight years, based on the RACV’s priority list
COALITION: Committed to remove 11 level crossings within the next few years as part of a $419 million blitz, with several finished or under construction. Likely to promise more before November’s election.
LABOR: Promises to allocate $300 million for the rail tunnel in its first Budget, if elected in November. Committed to the project to link South Yarra to Kensington, which it says will double the size of the City Loop.
COALITION: Promises to build the tunnel towards the end of the decade”, and has allocated almost $50 million for planning. Is looking at varying the proposed route to avoid ripping up Swanston St, and may include capacity for a rail link to the airport.