THE federal government’s announced $2.2 billion commitment to the suburban rail loop project has been confirmed.
The federal budget handed down last week locked in the federal government’s contribution to the project. Labor made the commitment in May in the leadup to its election.
The eastern section of the controversial rail loop will start at a new Cheltenham Station built using public land at Sir William Fry Reserve. The station will be roughly half a kilometre from the nearest Frankston line station at Southland.
The Parliamentary Budget Office has estimated the cost of building SRL East, which will link Cheltenham to Box Hill, to be $36.5 billion. The completed rail loop will link every rail line to the airport. The PBO estimated that building the loop from Cheltenham to the airport could cost $125 billion.
Infrastructure minister Catherine King said that the federal government’s first budget of its term “will honour the pledges we made to voters, while also managing the economy in an uncertain global environment.”
“Infrastructure is critical to building the nation we all want and the Albanese government’s budget investments in infrastructure deliver the best outcome for the Australian people now and into the future. The Albanese government wants infrastructure that leaves a lasting legacy,” she said. “The budget takes an important first step in ensuring the Commonwealth’s infrastructure spending is responsible, affordable and sustainable. We are delivering on our election commitments which takes the total investment in transport infrastructure in every state and territory in this budget at $55 billion over the forward estimates for new and existing projects.”
The state opposition has pledged to shelve the rail loop if it wins next month’s election.