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Labor rail announcement: First step to solving transport crisis in Melbourne’s Wes

Oct 16, 2018

Today’s regional and suburban rail announcement by the Andrews Labor Government is a step in the right direction for solving the transport crisis in Melbourne’s West, but further direct investment in Melbourne's west is needed, says regional advocacy group LeadWest.

In order to improve travel times between regional hubs Geelong and Ballarat, the plan proposes new electrified tracks to Wyndham Vale and Melton as part of the metropolitan rail network and includes additional stations to give residents easier access to public transport. It also proposes a tunnel between the CBD and an upgraded “super hub” station in Sunshine, as well as a potential link between Wyndham Vale and Werribee.

“This is a fantastic first step to address the urgent transport needs in Melbourne’s West,” said Councillor Jonathon Marsden, Chair of the Western Transport Alliance.

“Wyndham and Melton are bigger than Geelong and Ballarat respectively, and together they will soon hit a combined population of 1 million. We need investment in infrastructure that will keep up with this pace of growth.

“Melton is the fastest growing local government area in Melbourne and but right now less than half of residents there live within walking distance of public transport.

“Improving the train services to Melton and Wyndham Vale will mean more people can leave the car at home to get to work, freeing up the congestion on our roads.

“The addition of a tunnel between Southern Cross and an upgraded “super hub” station in Sunshine shows a Government that is committed to bringing further transport options to communities in the West.

“New electrified Melton and Wyndham Vale lines, as well as a potential connection between Wyndham Vale and Werribee would flesh out the western components of the government's Suburban Rail Loop proposal. We also welcome the promised investment in the Geelong and Ballarat lines, which will create improved transport links between these regional hubs and Melbourne's west.

“Only yesterday we learned that traffic congestion is causing more people driving below the speed limit in Melbourne than in any other city. Communities in the West know this better than anyone with many people spending hours sitting in traffic each day for their commute.

“Fast-tracking the planning of these projects so construction can start within 5 years shows that the Government is serious about addressing the urgent transport issues facing our communities.

 “We are calling on the Government to address our urgent transport needs by reviewing bus services in Melbourne’s West.

“A review and consolidation of bus services in the West would make a huge difference to peoples lives within months. Bus services would deliver much needed public transport to those 25 per cent who currently have no access within walking distance of their home.

“With the Victorian election is just over one month away, we need all sides of politics to provide a strong commitment to investing directly in the transport needs of Melbourne’s West now,” said Councillor Marsden.

MEDIA CONTACT: Rosina Rayns, 0401 991 792

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