Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas announcing the East West Link deal this week. Picture: Hamish Blair
BEFORE the state election last year, I promised a Labor government would remove 50 level crossings and get on with building Melbourne Metro rail.
The Victorian people supported this plan.
Dangerous and congested level crossings, and our sluggish and overcrowded train system are our number one transport nightmares.
The Government’s good-faith agreement with the East West Link consortium this week means we can get on with delivering our commitments.
I also promised Labor would put a stop to the Liberals’ wasteful, $10.7 billion tunnel and would not pay a cent in compensation.
We kept our promises.
The road is not being built, no compensation has been paid and we’ve made sure that up to $3 billion will be made available to fund Melbourne Metro.
Two 9km underground rail tunnels beneath the CBD, with five new underground stations, will bring our sluggish and crowded public transport system into the modern era.
It will move tens of thousands of people faster and more efficiently than the East West Link ever could.
It’s time Melbourne joined other great cities like London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong with a world-class underground providing train services so frequent that timetables become redundant.
Our transport system will eventually grind to a halt unless we build it. And now that the Liberals’ East West mess is behind us, we can do just that.
The $339 million paid to the East West consortium is for costs incurred under the previous government.
By the time Labor was sworn in, the money had already gone out the door.
This is what we’d all be paying every single year for the next 25 years, if this $10 billion tunnel went ahead.
Let’s not forget, the East West Link would have increased congestion on surrounding roads, forced tolls on every freeway in Melbourne and lost 55c in every dollar spent.
If you went on Channel 10’s Shark Tank with a proposal like that, you’d be laughed out of the room.
The Victorian people voted for Melbourne Metro rail, removing level crossings and upgrading local roads and we’re getting on with it.