Lets keep it realistic, last years budget was late and the state has spent billions on COVID19. Nothing has happened with the budget announcements that happened late last year. The two major projects were part funded by the feds. Airport Rail (being built with gold rails) and to my detest Geelong HSR. To add to that, no concept or preferred bidder has been announced for the new tram order.
I suspect this year will be very light on, just tying up some loose ends for current projects. Reasoning for this is two fold, the first is above, the budget is pretty deep in the red. None of it for bad reasons, a s*it tone has gone to COVID19 and the government continues to push along with its social reforms projects such as the $2B investment in public housing, new schools, new hospitals. Say what you will about borrowing, but i'm glad that these social reform investments have not been cut when we need them most.
Secondly, 2022 is an election year. So the big projects will come out in the 2022 budget to sweeten the voters. I don't think it will be a big spending election campaign like 2018. The libs will be bashing the 'labor cant manage the budget' gong as they usually do.
So, what to expect in 2021?
With the 'fast tracking' of the RRL LX removals, I suspect that we might see some money for Melton
. Wouldn't expect the full amount, maybe money for pre works with the main sum of money to come in 2022. The seat of Melton is one of the few marginal seats for Labor at 4.3%.
It also worth noting that the Western Rail Plan is being sold as one project, the government has changed their tune to 'a series of projects for the west'. With the BLU finished, the line between Deer Park & Melton is all but missing the OLE. If this was announced, Melton would line up with MM1 opening. I cant remember if the 65 HCMTS were enough to run Melton as well, there is a contract extension for another 20. I cant see anymore trains coming from CCRC int he current climate. With Melton on dedicated tracks, this frees up paths and fleet for WV.West Werribee
may get up, its a relatively small project, 10km of new track in an existing corridor. The proposed stations could be put on the back burner to bring costs down.
These two projects, take the heat off WV and give the government a couple of years to figure out what to make of RRL. IMO it should be finished to its full potential. Quad from WV through to Deer Park, then run WV and Regional services express into Southern Cross with upgraded signalling from Sunshine to SCS. WV services get exclusive use of 15 & 16 as intended with regionals confined to platforms 1-8. (6TPH Geelong, 6 WV, 3 Ballarat, 3 Bendigo)
Again, with WRP being broken up, we could see WV in 2022. This would space the projects in the west out over 5 - 10 years. Not that we have been waiting that long. Clyde
is a maybe, full works are not going to be finished until after the 2022 election, so this could be an election commitment for 2022. Baxter
again maybe, this depends on Metro's need for additional stabling and maintenance. But I doubt it will come up in 2021.Upfield - Somerton
Link & Essendon Station may come up this year. They are both precursor projects to MM1 Day 1 ops. Again, both small projects.
Doubt we will see any LX related funding this year. The government is already powering through 75. Expect this to be rounded out to 100 for 2022.
Maybe a few Vlocities, to keep the workers going until 2022. I'd expect 'New Generation' regional trains around this time.
Xtrap 2.0, haven't heard much of it at all. But a continued replacement of the Comengs in needed. Possibly 2022 election announcement. I'd expect any new trains to be made here, as per the Federal Labor's 'reconstruction fund'.
Outside of heavy rail, it would be nice to see small scale tram improvements
and a speed up of DDA compliance. Less than 10 tram stops were funded over the last few years. With new trams funded last year, a full scale roll out of low floor strops is needed. Along with this the half a dozen small scale extensions that would be just as good as SRL. $1Billion could deliver all of this and a hundred new tram stops. This would go a long way to propping up the inner city seats. Northcote 1.7%, Brunswick (greens) 0.57%, Richmond 5.46%, Hawthorn 0.42%, Brighton (Libs) 1.12%, Caulfield (Libs) 0.27%, Malvern (Libs) 6.1%, Melbourne (Greens) 1.13%
Let's wait and see what crumbs start dropping over the next month.