THE Victorian Liberal Party has promised to electrify the Frankston rail line to Baxter if it wins the November state election.
The opposition says it will cost $971 million electrifying and duplicating the line and build new stations at Langwarrin and Frankston East.
The previous Liberal federal government said it would contribute $225m towards the project.
Six level crossings would be removed and both Frankston and Baxter stations would be upgraded. The opposition says the project would be delivered in the next four years.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy said the project will “deliver better transport options and ease congestion for Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula”.
“Once we deliver this much-needed extension, thousands of families will have better connections both to and from the CBD,” he said. “We will electrify, extend, and duplicate important parts of the Metro network to ensure commuters get to where they need to go more quickly and more reliably. Our plan is a real solution to the growing pains the southern suburbs are feeling after years of being left behind.”
Liberal candidate for Frankston Michael O’Reilly said extension of the train line was “so long overdue”.
“This doesn’t just extend the train line, but it actually gets people out of cars. One of the biggest issues we have in Frankston is congestion in the CBD and a lack of parking at Frankston station, which is right at the end of the line,” he said. “This extension will not only service the hospital and the university, but it will also help kids get to major sporting infrastructures that will be underway soon.”
In 2020, a business case for the project estimated $1.5 billion could be needed to extend the line to Baxter.
Guy made the announcement at Baxter last weekend alongside O’Reilly, Mornington Liberal candidate Chris Crewther, Nepean Liberal candidate Sam Groth, transport spokesperson Matthew Bach, and Hastings candidate Briony Hutton.
A report released by the McKell Institute ranked Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula as the areas with the lowest percentage of public transport use compared to private vehicle use.
Committee for Greater Frankston president Rod Evenden said “coming second-last and last on the public transport ladder is appalling, but not surprising. For instance, everyone knows the present train service from Stony Point to Frankston, which is supposed to service Langwarrin and Karingal, is infrequent and notoriously unreliable”.
“While we languish after years of neglect, governments and transport planners lavish free trams and grand visions of new train tunnels on inner and middle ring suburbs. It’s simply not fair,” he said.