Budget sinks rail hopes for Baxter


THE state government is still not onboard the Frankston rail extension project.

There was no funding for the proposed project in the state budget handed down last week.

The business case assessing the cost of the extension was finally released last month. The cost given for duplicating and electrifying the Frankston line to Baxter was quoted at an eye-watering $1.3 – $1.5 billion.

The federal government has committed $225 million to the extension.

CEO of advocacy group Committee For Greater Frankston Ginevra Hosking said “the extension is vitally important so Frankston and Mornington Peninsula residents can board trains at stations near where they live, instead of driving into Frankston’s CBD just to park and further restricting the suburban centre’s growth and development”.

“On budget day, Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas matched the federal $5 billion funding for Airport Rail Link, and announced $2.2 billion for the $50 billion Suburban Rail Loop through Melbourne’s middle suburbs, $2 billion for Geelong fast rail, and $660 million for Shepparton and Warrnambool line upgrades. There was $276 million for Dandenong rail corridor and $5.5 million for track works at Caulfield. We need the basics. Actually getting people on the train, without commuter parking and traffic clogging Frankston’s CBD,” she said.

“Visionary rail projects like airport link and suburban loop are of little direct benefit if we can’t get more people on a train at their local station. When airport link opens, things might deteriorate even further – air travellers could leave their cars in Frankston’s CBD and make the 95-minute train trip to the airport.

“We have connectivity failure. Fixing inadequate public transport between Frankston and Langwarrin is recognised by Infrastructure Australia as an immediate top 150 project in the nation. Both federal government and federal opposition recognise the value of this project and have committed to an initial $225 million. The Victorian Labor government has not.”

First published in the Western Port News – 2 December 2020


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