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Offline ozbob

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Article: On the right track
« on: December 09, 2008, 03:41:22 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

On the right track

On the right track
Article from: Herald Sun

Geraldine Mitchell

December 09, 2008 12:00am

TRAIN travel will be revolutionised under a $14 billion plan to build a rail tunnel, new line extensions and buy more trains over the next decade.

The Brumby Government yesterday committed to stage one of the rail tunnel from Footscray to Caulfield, as first revealed in the Herald Sun last month.

The rail tunnel is the big-ticket item in the Government's $38 billion transport plan, but commuters will have to wait at least four years before construction starts.

And they will have to fork out higher public transport fares to help pay for it.

Premier John Brumby yesterday said fares would rise 5 per cent on top of CPI in 2012 and 2013, adding about 35c to a $6.50 daily zone 1 fare.

Mr Brumby said the Government would spend $4.5 billion on the first stage from Footscray to Domain.

But the second stage of the $8.5 billion tunnel from Domain to Caulfield will not start until at least 2021.

Mr Brumby also confirmed federal funding was required for the project to proceed.

He wants at least $10 billion to go towards his transport blueprint but did not say how much was required for the rail tunnel.

Among other announcements were:

A $4 BILLION Tarneit Link will run from West Werribee to Sunshine and then through to Southern Cross station with works to begin next year.

$2.65 BILLION for 70 new trains, with the first 18 coming on line late next year.

$2.4 BILLION to extend the rail network to South Morang, Sunbury and Cranbourne East. Works to South Morang will start in 2010, the Sunbury electrification project will be completed by 2012 and the Cranbourne East project will be completed in the longer term.

$220 MILLION to build new stations at Caroline Springs, Williams Landing, Lynbrook and Pakenham.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said the rail tunnel known as the "Melbourne Metro" would allow an extra 14 trains an hour, carrying 12,000 passengers, to travel on the network.

"A new train line that services these vibrant hubs (Melbourne University, Swanston St and St Kilda Rd) will lift the capacity of the entire rail system and reduce congestion along this major employment spine," she said.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Trevor Dobbyn said federal funding was essential for the rail tunnel and the Tarneit Link to go ahead.

"We call on the Federal Government to get involved and contribute its share, without which these vital projects can't proceed," he said.

"We're the only country in the developed world where there's no federal funding for urban public transport and that can't be sustained."

Connex Executive Chairman Jonathan Metcalfe said the plan recognised Melbourne's liveability would be compromised without significant investment in public transport.

"As we have maintained all along, to do nothing is not an option. There has to be a commitment to major works or we will simply not have the capacity to move the population of the future," he said.

"That rail patronage has grown 38 per cent in the last three years alone is proof that investment in rail in particular must be high on any transport agenda."

Metlink chief executive officer Bernie Carolan said while the Government had only committed to the first stage of the rail tunnel, it was a good start.

"If it can be staged to Domain and be usable then it means the customer benefit starts. We're pretty gratified by that," he said.

"But obviously the sooner the better is when we want to see this full project realised."

Greens MP Greg Barber said public transport had been the big winner out of the plan.

Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen gave the plan a five out of 10, and questioned the logic of future fare increases.
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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