$5 billion committed for Melbourne Airport Rail Link

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AUSTRALIA: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has pledged $5 billion investment through a Commonwealth fund to build the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, connecting the CBD and the airport.

The investment will also help reduce the strain on the Tullamarine Freeway which is one of the busiest roads in Victoria, catering to up to 210,000 vehicles a day.

There are several proposed routes which involve above-ground, underground and combined solutions.

"We expect that the results of the business case process, which we initiated at the 2017-18 Budget, will soon provide a clearer picture on the best route, best mode of transport and cost of the project.
We are under no illusion that such a city-shaping project does not come cheap. That is why we are making such a significant commitment," Turnbull said.

"We want the Victorian Government to partner with us in a true 50:50 funding partnership to build and own this iconic piece of infrastructure. We also welcome the involvement of the private sector.
Melbourne is the nation’s second busiest airport with forecasts indicating a throughput of 60 million passengers by 2030."

  • Sydney and Brisbane airports are connected to the city by rail and in Perth, an airport rail link is under construction. According to the Prime Minister, a rail connection to Melbourne Airport will not only benefit airport users and employees, it also has the potential to provide significant additional benefits, depending upon the final route and design chosen, including;
  • Rail access to areas to the north and west of the airport, potentially allowing them to be opened
    up for housing release;
  • Improved connectivity to regional Victoria, particularly to the north and west of Melbourne;
  • New rail stations located between Melbourne and the airport; and 
  • Freeing up the Tullamarine and Calder freeways, presently used by airport traffic.

“It’s very welcome to see the Commonwealth and Victorian governments partnering on major new projects in the State,” said Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Officer Adrian Dwyer.

“Major rail projects like the connection to Melbourne Airport cannot be paid for by ticket charges alone, so the key detail will be how much hard dollar funding is allocated in May’s Federal Budget. The rail link will provide Victorians with some degree of certainty that their trip between the Airport and CBD will be 30 minutes, with a train every 10 minutes, taking pressure off the CityLink/Tulla corridor."

With this new investment, the Commonwealth now has $17.5 billion committed to transport infrastructure projects in Victoria - including the $3 billion put aside for the East West Link.

Melbourne Airport Rail Link Route Alignments