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The giant investment firm behind a private multibillion-dollar airport rail plan has written to Labor MPs in Melbourne’s west, in a desperate last bid to convince them their plan has merit.
A last-minute bid for a private rail tunnel to the airport argues anything else is second rate
IFM Investors on Monday wrote to government MPs outlining its argument for why their airport rail plan – which includes a new tunnel from Southern Cross Station to West Footscray – should be adopted by the Andrews government.
The government appears increasingly unlikely to back the private bid, with [font=inherit]The Age[/font] this month revealing it is leaning towards running airport trains via the yet-to-be-completed Metro Tunnel.
The government would save billions of dollars if a dedicated new tunnel was not built for airport trains.
But lobby groups in Melbourne’s west have warned that running airport trains via the Metro Tunnel would drastically reduce the number of extra trains running to Sunbury and Melton. Wyndham Vale services would also suffer.
The Metro Tunnel project’s enormous $11 billion price tag was based on its ability to deliver more services to the city’s west. And the plan to run airport trains through the Metro Tunnel was ditched by state rail planners in 2016, because it would cut the number of services that could run to Melton and Sunbury.
IFM Investors letter to MPs stated that using the Metro Tunnel to run airport services would provide a second-rate service that would see many potential rail users get in their car instead to get to the airport.
“We believe Melbourne can do better than a suburban airport rail service that does not meet the needs of airport travellers, fails to unlock train services in the west, increases road congestion and leave the regions waiting for faster trains for decades to come,” the letter said.
A government spokeswoman said it would not comment on IFM Investors’ letter to MPs because the firm’s bid was being assessed by Treasury as a “market-led proposal”.
“We continue to work closely with the federal government on the best design for airport rail - that will get people to and from the airport quickly with minimal interchanges,” she said.
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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