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Key Geelong advocacy groups have called out the state government’s fast rail plan for snubbing Avalon Airport.
Trips between Melbourne and Geelong would be slashed to 50 minutes under a $4bn proposal funded jointly by the state and federal governments.
Under the plan, track upgrades between Werribee and Laverton will include a dedicated express service along the Werribee corridor to allow for the “shortest and most direct line” between Geelong and Melbourne.
Former Geelong mayor and Stronger Together Rail Alliance chair Bruce Harwood said while he supported the state government in moving forward on fast rail, the current proposal meant there would be “no fast rail for southwest Victoria”.
“50-55 minutes is not fast rail,” he said.
“It’s maybe 10 minutes faster than what we’ve got at the moment.”
Cr Harwood said he remained sceptical until he’d been presented with an independently assessed business case and solid time frame for the completion of works.
Geelong fast rail proposal isn’t fast enough, advocates say. Picture: Alan Barber
“Avalon is an international airport and has the potential to be one of the biggest economic drivers in Victoria,” he said.
“With the history we’ve had of rail infrastructure in the state we reserve our right to be cautious until we see more.”
It’s understood some services would continue to run on the existing corridor for increased frequency and a quick connection to the new Melbourne Airport Rail line via Sunshine station.
G21 chief executive Elaine Carbines commended the state and federal government’s decision to move forward on the project.
“It’s an exciting project a very long time in the making,” she said.
This article first appeared on www.adelaidenow.com.au
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