_VICTORIAN STATE BUDGET – A FOCUS ON TRANSPORT
The 2016-2017 Victorian State Budget ‘Getting it Done’ was handed down by the Treasurer on Wednesday 27 April 2016. Several announcements for public transport and road infrastructure have formed a so called centrepiece of the Victorian Budget totalling more than $10 billion in funding.
One of the more predominant announcements, promises a Victorian Government commitment to the delivery of the Melbourne Metro project despite the current lack of funding from the Commonwealth Government. The $10.9 billion project will receive $2.9 billion.
In addition, the State Government has committed to the following key projects relevant to public transport and roads.
- Over $1.9 billion for works on the public transport network including: $875 million for 28 high capacity trains to prepare for the opening of the Melbourne Metro project; $588 million to extend the South Morang rail line to Mernda; and $140 million to upgrade the Hurstbridge line.
- $1.3 billion in regional rail projects including $518 million for the Ballarat line upgrade project and $280 million for an additional 27 new VLocity carriages for Vline trains.
- A Government contribution of $1.46 billion over four years towards fully funding the Western Distributor. Along with the cuts to travel time, the project is promoted as creating over 5,500 jobs during the construction period.
- $675 million to help reduce congestion on suburban roads and $260 million in road improvements for regional Victoria.
Whilst overall the Victorian State Budget has been well received so far in terms of solving some existing transport problems, attention has been drawn to the issues relating to population growth and the commitment or lack of it to addressing the future challenges that Victoria faces.