Vic­to­ria will set aside an ex­tra $1.46 bil­lion in the 2016-17 Bud­get for the Western Dis­trib­u­tor Project

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

The Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ment will set aside an ex­tra $ 1.46 bil­lion in the 2016-17 Bud­get to en­sure the Western Dis­trib­u­tor Project is built, in the process ac­knowl­edg­ing fed­eral gov­ern­ment fund­ing is yet to be agreed.

“We will build the long- over­due sec­ond river cross­ing and cut travel time from Gee­long by 20 min­utes,” pre­mier Daniel An­drews says. “Al­though we will con­tinue to ad­vo­cate for the Turn­bull gov­ern­ment to part­ner with us on this project, we sim­ply can­not wait to de­liver it, and get­ting it done with or without their sup­port.”

For the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s part, it is happy to talk, but not about grants.

“The Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment that it will pro­vide the full fund­ing re­quired to build the Western Dis­trib­u­tor project is con­fir­ma­tion of the po­si­tion the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment has taken on this project – be­cause its eco­nomics are un­der­pinned by tolls, both on the new com­po­nents and through an ex­ten­sion of the Ci­tyLink toll con­ces­sion, it is not a project which re­quires grant fund­ing from the Com­mon­wealth,” ma­jor projects min­is­ter Paul Fletcher says.

“Of course the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment is strongly com­mit­ted to Vic­to­rian in­fra­struc­ture, which is why we com­mit­ted $ 1.5 bil­lion to vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture projects in a for­mal of­fer to the Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ment.

“This in­cludes vi­tal projects such as a one bil­lion dol­lar up­grade of the Monash Free­way, and a fur­ther $ 700 mil­lion to­wards the full up­grade of the M80 Or­bital.

“We look for­ward to work­ing with the Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ment to progress these vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture projects as quickly as pos­si­ble. Pre­mier An­drews says the project war­rants Com­mon­wealth in­vest­ment: the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment stands ready to dis­cuss in­vest­ment pro­pos­als with the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment, such as pro­vid­ing a con­ces­sional loan, or tak­ing eq­uity.”

The gov­ern­ment and road ser­vices firm Transur­ban also signed an agree­ment on pro­cesses for the ten­der, plan­ning and en­gage­ment stages, and an­nounced the es­tab­lish­ment of the Western Dis­trib­u­tor Author­ity. De­signs in­clude five ramp op­tions to con­nect the West Gate Free­way di­rectly to Hyde Street, with a view to han­dling dan­ger­ous goods trucks, which can’t travel in a tun­nel.

They will con­tinue to be re­fined as plan­ning pro­gresses and in light of com­mu­nity and other feed­back.

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