Australia’s $500 million train stop expansion is a good start, but it’s not enough to get commuters home
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2018 10:01:00As the federal government prepares to announce the completion of the next phase of the $500 billion MetroLink project, the question has become how much more the country will need to spend.
With more than $1 billion in funding, the project will take a major step forward in connecting Melbourne with the rest of the country by connecting stations in the CBD and Southbank and connecting to the city via a new rail link to the Gold Coast.
However, the MetroLink rail line has also been criticised by critics as a “train station on steroids” that will see more trains on and off the line than necessary, especially if the federal Government does not deliver the $8 billion project by 2020.
While some argue that the line is already over-capacity, many more people will be using the existing lines by 2023, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
A further $10 billion in extra funding is needed for the project to be completed in line with the state’s $10 per kilometre tax.
That means it is expected that the new rail line will cost more than the entire $500-billion project to build.
While MetroLink is not expected to become operational until 2024, it will be the fourth major rail project in the country.
It is not just MetroLink which has received criticism from the public and critics over its cost.
The $500million project has also attracted criticism from Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian, who said that it will make a “big difference” to people’s commute.
However Ms Berejklian has also conceded that the project could be a major headache for some people in the state.
She has told ABC radio in an interview that “some people in this state don’t want to pay more than they have to”.
“We will look at the cost of this project and decide if we are in the right position to fund this and whether we can make sure that it is funded in the best way possible,” she said.
She said the project was in line for completion by 2024, with the final costs to be determined by the Federal Government.
Ms Berejkishlian also acknowledged that some communities will be impacted by the MetroLine, with some regions of Victoria having higher demand for public transport than others.
“I don’t think there is a single community in Victoria who will be better off if we don’t build it,” she told the ABC.
“We have got to make sure we are doing it in the most appropriate way.”
Ms Berejs is also facing criticism for suggesting that it would be cheaper for the federal to fund the project.
The federal Government will be responsible for the $1.5 billion cost of the project, which will include the building of a new MetroLink station in the city of Melbourne.
The cost of building the station is estimated to be around $800 million.
The Government will also be responsible if the project is not completed by 2020, and if the State Government fails to provide the necessary funding.
The Federal Government will not be responsible, because it will not have made a decision on funding the project by then.
If the Federal government does not fund the Metro Line, MetroLink will become a $1-billion ($8 billion) project, meaning MetroLink would not be operational until 2021.
“That means we are not even getting to that first stage, which is actually the most expensive phase of a project,” Ms Berejs said.
Ms Serenes said the Federal and State governments have been working hard to meet the target to finish the project in time for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which are due to be held in Melbourne in 2024.
“This project is in the public’s interest, in the people’s interest and in the regional economy’s interest,” she added.
“It’s the right thing to do.”