With the Victorian and Federal budget announcements behind us, the ETC has looked through both budgets in order to find projects and funding that will assist us in our mission to give commuters in Melbourne’s east access to good connections, quality interchanges, and services that are frequent and reliable.
Unfortunately, there was little in store for public transport users in Melbourne’s east.
In saying that, we still welcome several of the announced projects that did receive funding.
Although it doesn’t assist us in our troubles with congestion and outdated rail services in the east, the ETC still welcome the Victorian budget’s headline initiative for public transport, the $1.45 billion Regional Rail Revival package. The ETC is dedicated to supporting projects that allows mobility to all Victorians, and we hope that these upgrades will assist our overall rail system cope with projected growth in patronage across the board.
We are pleased to see the Federal Government committing $500 million for regional rail lines, and almost half a billion dollars for yet-to-be-determined infrastructure projects.
The regional rail spend includes $100 million for a Geelong rail line duplication, $100 million for a northeast rail line upgrade, $195 million for eastern line duplication projects, and $95 million for the Avon River bridge in Gippsland.
These commitments indicate that the Federal Government accepts that it has a role in funding metro public transport, encouraging us to continue raising awareness of some of our required rail projects in our region, including the Rowville Rail line and Doncaster Rail line construction.
While the rail projects caught most people’s interest it, other initiatives mentioned in the Victorian budget are also welcome:
- traffic priority for trams and buses
- building more carrying capacity into the existing rail network
- expanding the tram fleet to cater for booming patronage
- upgrading stations and removing level crossings
- making the Night Network permanent
Although, once again, none of these initiatives are particularly focused on improving public transport in Melbourne’s east, it still shows that trains and trams are on the Victorian government agenda.
Some of these initiatives will go a long way towards increasing Melbourne’s liveability, productivity, efficiency, connectivity and sustainability. The ETC see these as the pillars of any good transport network and we welcome and support initiatives that will assist in attracting more people to use public transport instead of private vehicles.
The ETC is also looking forward to hearing how the North East Link project evolves and we are interested in putting to Government our position as an advocate for commuters in the east.
With other parts of Melbourne and the State being attended to, this year’s budgets have made us even more determined to raise awareness of the needs for better mobility for our 1 million residents in Melbourne’s east.