The state government funding program for the maintenance of existing rail infrastructure and building the MMP tunnel and its proposed extensions, such as the lines to West Doncaster and Melbourne Airport, “is so fanciful that it may as well have had a dozen tatts lotto tickets attached to it”…analogy by previous transport minister Terrence Mulder
The Victorian state government could need Billions to fund overdue maintenance of its existing railway infrastructure without taking into account the $11 Billion required for the construction of the Melbourne Metropolitan Project and the $11 Billion rail line to West Doncaster/ Greythorn Park and Ride. The State government had pledged only $300 Million followed by a further $1.5 Billion to be allocated in this year’s state budget. The Federal government had promised a further $2 Billion towards the MMP but have not indicated when it would be made available except to say that it would be sometime after 2019– one year after the next state election.
Phase One of the $6.5 Million Rail study report given to the Victorian Government in February 2014 estimated the cost of a line from Clifton Hill to the Doncaster Park-And-Ride at
up to $11Billion which included the cost of between $3 – $5 billion for the rail to Doncaster plus the uncoupling and diverting the South Morang line, to allow sufficient capacity for additional lines, which was costed at around $4 to $6 Million.
The report predicted that an average weekday patronage of up to 56,000 passengers by 2031 with 98% of its passengers coming from existing public transport such as the city express bus service and by Box Hill to city railway. The report found that any benefit of removing the freeway dedicated bus lanes would be negated by increased traffic.
“There will be no second phase of the Doncaster Rail study even if there is a change of government after November 2018. The current government regard buses only as the public transport solution for Doncaster Hill and have repeatedly told Manningham to “stop tugging in other directions”. The opposition who first proposed the study did it only as an election campaign ploy so they would be unlikely to go there again. What surprised me is how council could be so easily sucked into believing the politicians and then to provide a false hope to residents and investors by going on a spending spree promoting the heavy rail line, when, even if it were proved feasible, it would not occur for at least 15 years, if ever, and would not terminate on Doncaster Hill where it is most needed”.
“A light rail to the city via the freeway and a connection to all Melbourne’s tram routes by extending the North Balwyn to Doncaster Hill could solve all our transport problems?.