With stage 2 of the Rowville Rail study completed, the Eastern Transport Coalition has called on the government to provide a formal response and give a clear answer on when the project will be built and how it will be funded.
ETC chairperson, Cr Peter Lockwood said as of today, there is zero funding for the project and such a distant timeframe that it is hard to believe the government is actually committed to it.
With the State Election fast approaching he said the three key questions the government and opposition need to answer are:
- Is Rowville Rail feasible?
- Will it be built by 2030
- Will the alignment be protected now?
“The stage 2 report makes some very sensible recommendations which should be acted on right away,” Cr Lockwood said.
“Specifically improving other public transport while people wait for the railway which is at least 14 years away, and protecting the preferred future alignment from other development.”
Cr Lockwood said the ETC has campaigned for the extension of rail to Rowville and Doncaster for over a decade and the project itself has been on the table since 1969.
“No matter how feasible the line is there is currently no state government funding committed, no chance of federal government funding and it cannot be built until the Melbourne Rail Link is delivered,” he said.
“And stage 2 of the feasibility study was completed without a detailed patronage analysis, without a business case containing a benefit-cost analysis and without an assessment of the wider economic effects of the project – all of which the report says now need to be done.
“The Minister, Terry Mulder needs to provide a formal response to the study as he committed to do on June 12 and state clearly what the government intends to do next and when.
“And the ALP needs to commit to do more than re-review the review. As a project that has been more than 40 years in the planning, and which has received the support of both the ALP and Liberal Party, it is time to just get on and build it.
“And while the public continues to wait, better buses that run more frequently are needed to fill the immediate gap.”