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Works to kickstart the new Melbourne Airport rail link will begin within months, with money flowing this financial year and turbocharging Victoria’s pandemic recovery.
The state and federal governments are on the verge of confirming the design of the project, which the Herald Sun can reveal will create 11,000 jobs.
Crucial geotechnical investigations have already been completed, and the Morrison government expects $70m to be shelled out on the project by June – on top of $30m spent on a business case.
Transport infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan in the site of the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel earlier this year. Picture: David CroslingFederal infrastructure department documents show the commonwealth has also set aside $180m next year, as part of an overall $5bn commitment.
The link, connecting Tullamarine to the heart of the CBD via a new Sunshine superstation, will be a centrepiece of the Andrews government’s forthcoming big-spending budget.
Works were not expected to get underway until 2022, but a tender process is now ready to proceed after 152 preparatory boreholes were dug between Sunshine and Tullamarine.
A director of Melbourne Airport Rail was also appointed in September and a probity plan is now complete, allowing the $8-13bn project to take flight as soon as Scott Morrison and Daniel Andrews finalise a deal on the route.
Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said she looked forward to announcing the final design soon — which is expected to link into the new Metro Tunnel.
Alan Tudge, Minister for Urban Infrastructure. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Sarah Matray“We’ve been working for over a year with the commonwealth on all the planning work to make this much-talked-about project a reality,” she said.
Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said: “I want to see work cracking on this as soon as we can”.
A national partnership between the federal and state governments has locked in up to $10bn for the project, with documents showing $400m of federal money earmarked for 2022-23, after its initial $250m investment.
At that stage, major tunnelling will be ready to begin, because the $11bn Metro Tunnel project will be nearing completion.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to tour the proposed site once Melbourne’s strict coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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