Melbourne’s Airport Rail Link Gets Approval as Victorian Infrastructure Booms
After receiving public support from both the State and Federal Governments late last year, Premier Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Scott Morrison have both formally signed off on the Melbourne Airport Rail Link (MARL).
A major project touted by both the Labor and Liberal parties in the lead-up to last year’s State election, an agreement was finally signed on Wednesday of this week to commence planning for the project, expected to cost between $8-13 billion. Morrison and Andrews have pledged contributions of $5 billion each from their respective governments.
The anticipated nine-year construction process is expected to yield thousands of new jobs for the industry, adding another major State infrastructure project to a pipeline of unprecedented activity.
With construction set to commence in 2022, the Airport Link will connect Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport to the public transport network, making the 23km journey more accessible to travellers. The Rail Link will also ease congestion on Melbourne’s roads, and complement the extensive rail works happening as part of the Metro Tunnel project.
The agreement stands to meet the growing need to integrate Tullamarine into the public transport system, as a key hub of Melbourne’s economic growth. Within 20 years, the airport is expected to double the current number of annual passenger movements – to a staggering 67 million.
“The Melbourne Airport Rail Link has been talked about for far too long – we’re doing the detailed planning and development work to make it a reality,” said Mr Andrews.
“By choosing the Sunshine route, we are ensuring all Victorians can benefit from the rail link, including people living in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. As we complete the business case, we’re also doing the work needed to deliver fast rail to the regions.”
As part of a Business Case to be delivered by next year, the viability of rerouting Geelong-bound trains through a new tunnel linking the CBD to Sunshine will also be considered.
Transport Minister Jacinta Allan heralded the news as a significant victory for regional commuters. “This is not just about getting from the airport to the city – it’s about better connecting our suburbs and regions, so people have better services wherever they live.”
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