The State Budget has delivered a significant increase in public transport spending by the State Government, however two vital projects for Melbourne’s east have once again been sidelined.

While the Eastern Transport Coalition welcomes the State Government’s investment in the Melbourne Metro project, the $6 billion to remove 50 level crossings, plus a commitment to deliver more new trains and buses, neither the Rowville Rail nor the Doncaster Rail projects have received a mention.

Significant work has already been undertaken on both these projects, which have been part of Melbourne’s broader transport planning for decades, however both projects have now stalled, waiting for funding to complete feasibility studies and additional investigations.

“The ETC recognizes that projects like Melbourne Metro and level crossing removals need to happen in order to increase capacity across Melbourne’s train network,” ETC chairman, Cr Peter Lockwood said.

“However it is disappointing that these projects have disappeared from view entirely. There is still a great deal of work to be done and this could be happening now.

“We are still waiting for funding to complete Stage 2 of the Doncaster Rail study to examine the preferred route in more detail and to protect the land needed for this project from other development. That work needs to be done now if there is any chance of seeing this vital piece of infrastructure for Melbourne’s east delivered by 2029.

“Similarly, Stage 1 and 2 of Rowville Rail’s feasibility study have been completed, yet we still don’t have a detailed patronage and cost-benefit analysis. Steps also need to be taken to protect land along the preferred alignment.”

Cr Lockwood said the $100 million promised to improve bus services was great news, although they were waiting to see details as to where and how that money would be spent.

“Far too little has been invested in Melbourne’s public transport network for far too long and it is great to see significant resources now being allocated to redress some of the inefficiencies in the system,” Cr Lockwood said.

“However residents in Melbourne’s outer east are right to ask when they will see the benefit of this spending. Planning for more train and bus services for the Eastern Suburbs needs to be happening now.”

“High capacity signalling must also be rolled out across the entire rail network as soon as possible. Without it, our trains are still operating on an antiquated signalling system that limits the number of trains that we can run.”