The Eastern Transport Coalition has welcomed the findings of a new economic impact study, which shows that the proposed Rowville rail line would significantly increase local employment and economic growth.
ETC Chairperson Cr Samantha Dunn said the study had been commissioned by Knox Council to measure the costs and benefits the project could be expected to generate.
“The Victorian Government’s Rowville Rail study, released in March this year found that building the rail line was feasible and that once built, it would be well-used with an estimated 68,000 passengers per day,” Cr Dunn said.
It will also provide an essential link to Monash University, which is growing year by year and whose students are in desperate need of improved public transport.
“This new study supports those finding and in fact quantifies the growth that the Knox area can expect and the flow-on effects for the broader Victorian economy.”
The report, conducted by SGS Economics and Planning, found that the rail line would result in the creation of around 280 jobs in the south east of Melbourne by 2021, and allow for an additional 410 households to be created in Knox by the same year.
It found that a rail line would accelerate overall economic growth in the region and in the 50 year period from 2021, it would provide an estimated $5 billion in environmental and economic savings, which is well above the $2.89 billion cost of constructing the project.
In the southern parts of Knox, where 90 per cent of residents rely of cars to access employment, a rail line would help to reduce road congestion and the impact of increasing fuel price on household budgets.
Cr Dunn said given that Knox was a developed area, the growth projections were positive.
“The study shows that a rail line to Rowville would deliver a moderate economic stimulus to the region, which would flow-on to benefit the whole state,’’ Cr Dunn said.
“But when you are talking about delivering crucial public infrastructure, the focus shouldn’t just be about economic benefits. There are social and environmental benefits that must not be ignored. This report shows that Rowville rail can deliver them all.”