Victoria’s billion dollar transport blitz

Billions of dollars has been allocated in the Victorian Budget 2019/20 for the state’s transport infrastructure, including funding for major projects, road upgrades, new trains and extra car parks.

The $27.4 billion allocated for the Suburban Transport Blitz— which includes $15.8 billion to fully fund and build North East Link, $6.6 billion to remove another 25 level crossings and $608 million to upgrade local roads — will go a long way towards improving journey reliability on Melbourne’s road network.

Regional roads also get a boost of $425 million, with a further $30.3 million for upgrades, traffic light installation and pedestrian improvements in regional cities.

$128.5 million will go towards the operation and maintenance of recently completed projects including level crossing removals and the Mernda Rail Extension.

Train communication systems will be upgraded, with $83 million invested to allow Metro train drivers to continue to communicate critical information, such as accidents or illness on a train when out on the network, maintaining safety and continuing to minimise delays.

To reduce the daily scramble to find a park, the Budget provides $150 million for the Car Parks for Commuters Fund. The funds will build thousands of new car parks at some of the busiest stations in Melbourne and regional Victoria.

$340 million will purchase up to 18 new three-car VLocity trains to meet increasing demand for services across the regional network.

$19 million has also been allocated for stabling and maintenance facility operations at Wyndham Vale, Ballarat East, Bendigo and South Dynon — supporting the massive investment in upgrading every regional line in Victoria.

The tram network will get another boost with $162.8 million for ten more locally built E-Class trams. It will take Melbourne’s fleet of low-floor accessible trams to 100, reducing crowding and supporting Victorian jobs.

The Budget also includes $205.1 million to increase train and bus services, and $111 million to recruit, train and upskill train drivers to get them ready for the new bigger and better trains, extra regional services and the Metro Tunnel.

New bus routes and more services will be rolled out in growth areas in the north and south-east, connecting people to jobs, reducing travel times and improving public transport options in the suburbs and regions.

Since its launch in March, over 50,000 Android smartphone users are topping up and touching on using mobile myki. The government will supercharge the development of mobile myki to other smartphone platforms, making travelling quicker and easier for all passengers with a smartphone.

Passengers will also be able to keep their phones charged and stay contactable with funding for 160 free mobile charging ports at Richmond, South Yarra, North Melbourne and City Loop stations.

The government will invest $8 million to extend an incentive scheme which shifts more trucks off local roads and onto rail, and to help Victoria’s truck drivers to be safer and more skilled on our roads.

St Kilda is set for a new look pier with a $50.3 million injection to give locals and visitors more swimming spots and better public open space, while protecting the local kiosk.

The Budget also supports the biggest ever investment in transport and continues the massive overhaul of Victoria’s public transport and freight networks, saving time and reducing congestion.

Minister for Public Transport, Ports and Freight, Melissa Horne, said, “We’re building more trains and trams to give passengers a better experience and support local jobs.

“We promised to get trucks off local streets and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

“Whether it’s a better local bus or brand new trains — this Budget will get you where you need to go.”

Roads Australia President, David Stuart-Watt, said, “With Victoria set to experience the largest and fastest increase in population over the next 50 years, and projected to reach between 7.5 million and 7.9 million people by 2027, it’s vital that we are planning for the future.

“But we also need to deal with our immediate challenges around congestion, public transport, and road maintenance and renewal.

“The Budget strikes a good balance, providing a vision for the future and delivering for the present.”

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