Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has announced the Labor Government will invest $300 million in the Victorian Suburban Rail Loop if it is elected.
The investment is hoped to support the development of a business case and quicken the planning work, enabling construction to commence in 2022. The project is anticipated to provide a major boost to the economy, creating 20,000 jobs in the construction phase and employing 2000 apprentices.
To assist Melbourne in keeping up with the demands of being Australia’s fastest growing capital city, investment in world-class, modern transport network is critical.
Between now and 2046, Melbourne’s population is projected to grow to 7.3 million residents. Without robust planning and investment in the city’s roads and public transport infrastructure, the annual cost of traffic congestion will more than triple to $9 billion by 2030.
Investing in decent public transport is hoped to take the pressure off cities, ease traffic congestion, and connect the suburbs and the regions.
On completion, the Suburban Rail Loop will comprise a 90km rail line through Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs via the airport, linking all of the city’s major train lines. It will connect the suburbs directly to major employment hubs, universities, TAFE and hospitals outside the city, making it easier for Victorians to get around for work and recreation.
Labor’s investment follows expert analysis showing the project will slash travel times across the city. Expected to be used by 400,000 passengers a day, the project will take pressure off existing lines, as well as an estimated 200,000 cars off the city’s road network. Fewer cars on the road means less congestion and shorter travel times.
The funding also aims to help finalise exact station locations, route alignments, rolling stock and staging, and get construction underway faster.