The Eastern Transport Coalition has welcomed the planned investment in public transport announced in today’s State Budget, however critical projects for the eastern suburbs are still either more than a decade away or have been left out completely.

ETC Chairperson, Cr Peter Lockwood said the Melbourne Rail Link project would help to deliver Rowville, and it was pleasing to see that a “future passenger rail extension to Rowville” was mentioned by the Premier Denis Napthine.

“For the first time you can believe that rail services will improve but it still won’t be for a decade. The long-awaited rail projects for the eastern suburbs are still in limbo,’’ Cr Lockwood said.

“The new Melbourne Rail Link program includes tunnels to replace the Melbourne Metro plan and the Airport Rail Link but it’s not clear which part will happen first.

“And while we are happy that Rowville is still on the agenda, there is still no clear commitment regarding timing and no mention at all of Doncaster Rail,” he said.

“The government has clearly discarded the Network Development Plan which called for Doncaster and Rowville Rail and will need to outline a new plan for these projects, for which the first stage of feasibility studies have already been completed.”

Cr Lockwood said the funding for level crossing removal was welcome and exactly what residents in the outer east have been calling for.

He said it was also critical that bus services were improved in the short term to meet the immediate needs of public transport users, many of who relied on buses as their only means of public transport.

“Our polling has shown that eastern suburbs commuters are demanding better public transport, with 64 per cent listing improving and expanding public transport as a top or very high priority, and they intend to vote accordingly at the next State Election,’’ Cr Lockwood said.

“For a real generational shift we need rail delivered quicker and better bus services. The challenge is now for the ALP to show that they have listened, increase the speed of delivery and commit to Rowville and Doncaster Rail.”