The final report of the Rowville Rail feasibility study, nearly six month overdue, needs to be released by the State Government, the Eastern Transport Coalition said today.
ETC Chairperson, Cr Samantha Dunn said the final report for phase 1 of the study was due to be released mid-2012. Phase 2 of the study was to begin in mid-2012 and be completed by mid-2013.
“The Transport Minister still hasn’t released the final report for stage 1 and there isn’t even a commitment of funds to undertake phase 2,” Cr Dunn said.
Phase 1 of the study investigated the feasibility of a 12 kilometre rail line between Huntingdale Railway Station and Rowville that would serve residents in the eastern suburbs and the large number of students attending Monash University.
It looked at engineering, architectural and operational options and included extensive public consultation.
A draft report of the study’s results, released by the government in March this year, showed that a Rowville rail service would be well-used with an estimated 68,000 passengers per day.
“That would remove the equivalent of one lane of traffic from the Monash Freeway,” Cr Dunn said.
“For the first time in four decades, tens of thousands of people living in the eastern part of Melbourne have had a glimpse of hope that there might be an alternative to free them from the traffic snarls along Wellington Rd, the Monash Freeway and Eastern Freeway,’’ she said.
“It would be a savage blow if the government didn’t commit to completing the study and set firm timelines for building the project.
“Delaying the project decade after decade only exacerbates costs, road congestion and leaves the door open for further complications with land use.”
Cr Dunn also welcomed the RACV’s Growing Pains report, which identified 159 critical projects across Melbourne and Geelong that need to be undertaken urgently to improve transport.
“The ETC supports the RACV’s position that a better approach to funding is needed and seeks a commitment from government that it will addressing the backlog of public transport projects around Melbourne, Rowville Rail included,” she said.