FRESH doubts have been expressed over the future of $225 million set aside for the stalled train line extension from Frankston to Baxter.
The money for the extension was committed by the previous Coalition federal government and later supported by then opposition leader Anthony Albanese in the lead up to the 2018 election.
The cost to electrify and duplicate the Stony Point line to Baxter was quoted at up to $1.5 billion in a business case completed before the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the planned extension has failed to progress any further than a business case and the state government has not committed any money to it.
Meanwhile, Frankston Council is calling for the project’s committed federal money to remain in the Dunkley and Flinders electorates.
The council last week voted to advocate for the money to be spent on transport projects in Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula. Frankston councillor Kris Bolam is concerned the lack of progress on the project could see the money spent elsewhere.
“The internal belief both within council and indeed talking to a number of politicians is that this could be justification for the present government to rescind its promise to electrify the Stony Point line and instead have the $221 million reallocated and repurposed for other projects outside of the Frankston municipality. If this happens, I think it’s a very disappointing and sad move,” he said.
Bolam said the $221 million left over after the business case was “earmarked for the Dunkley and Flinders electorates, therefore it is only reasonable that a meaningful portion remain here”.
The Baxter rail extension was included in a 90-day review of planned infrastructure projects ordered by the incoming Labor federal government. Dunkley MP Peta Murphy’s office told The News that she was still waiting for the outcome of the review.
Frankston Council has also discussed other uses for the committed federal money if the rail extension does not go ahead.