ABC: East West Link: Stage one to cost $6.8 billion, Victorian Government releases tunnel’s final design. By court reporter Alison Savage. Tue 30 Sep 2014, 10:35pm
Melbourne’s East West Link project will cost $6.8 billion to build with a $2 billion contribution from Victorian taxpayers, the State Government has said.
Details of the budget have now been released along with the final design and the route of the first stage of the controversial 18 kilometre road project.
On Monday the Government signed contracts with East West Connect, the private consortium building the road.
The deal was completed after the High Court rejected a bid to delay the signing until mid-October.
The Federal Government is also contributing $1.5 billion to the project which Premier Denis Napthine hailed as a game-changer.
“It will mean people leaving the cities will be able to get home to their families (quicker),” he said.
Tolls comparable to existing fees: Treasurer
But the Government has not revealed how much the tolls will be.
An assumed toll cost was built into the contract but Treasurer Michael O’Brien said he could not yet say how much the tolls would be.
“The tolls that people can expect to pay for East West stage one will be very comparable to what people are used to paying for EastLink and CityLink,” he said.
“We expect the project to open in 2019.
“It would be rare for any business to set their prices five years prior to opening the door.”
Brian Negus, from the RACV, said it was normal to wait until closer to the opening date to set toll prices.
“The tolls on Citylink and East Link were announced quite close to when those projects were complete,” he said.
“We would expect the same outcome here.”
Mr O’Brien would also not reveal how much a quarterly service payment, paid to the road’s operator, will cost taxpayers over 25 years.
“That is commercial in confidence but I can say they are consistent with the size of the project,” he said.
“Consistent with long practices, including on Peninsula Link which was entered into under the previous government, those payments won’t be released publicly.”
The quarterly service payments for Peninsula Link have not made public but similar payments for the Wonthaggi desalination plant were.
The Government would also not be drawn on how much compensation the private consortium would be entitled to if Labor were to win the November 29 state election and terminate the contract.
The Labor Party has said, if elected, it would not build the road because of ongoing legal challenges involving Yarra and Moreland councils.
Mr O’Brien said the cost of compensation paid to the consortium would depend on a range of factors and there was no set amount.
“It would depend on the costs incurred by the other parties,” he said.
“There’s not a particular fee.”
Opposition leader Daniel Andrews is not swayed by the signing of the contracts.
He called the move “arrogant” and said it had exposed taxpayers to unnecessary risk.
“No smelly, secret side deal will be honoured by a Labor Government,” he said.
“This is arrogance, we haven’t seen the likes of this arrogance, for a very long time.
“Our position is absolutely clear. Victorians will get a choice.”
4.4 km tunnel featured in first stage of road project
The final route and design for the road has also been released.
It includes 4.4 kilometres of tunnel under Alexandra Parade, Melbourne Cemetery, Princes Park and Royal Park.
There will be an interchange between Gold Street and Hoddle Street, an overpass above Hoddle Street and access ramps at Flemington Road.
There will also be access ramps to Ormond Road and Brunswick Road from the East West Link.
No further properties will be acquired for stage one and the Government said about 2 per cent of Royal Parade would be impacted by the road.
East West Connect said it expected financial settlement for the project to be completed in two weeks and construction work to start in four to six months.
It is expected the East West Link will take five years to build.