This is another Victorian Budget with considerable investment in transport with nearly $4 billion allocated over the next four years, evenly split between road and public transport projects. The Victorian Government has also identified a number of projects proposed to be funded by the Commonwealth through the asset recycling initiative from the lease of the Port of Melbourne.
The $3.1 billion capital investment in transport projects makes up the bulk of expenditure, and apart from making all-night public transport on weekends permanent, there is only modest investment in additional public transport services. With such large investments in capital, future budgets will need to focus on increased services.
The government is targeting significant growth in V/Line train passengers of 4 per cent, and similar tram passenger growth of 3.7 per cent. The number of metropolitan train passengers is expected to grow 2.3 per cent. Buses have lower passenger growth targets, of only 1.5 per cent growth for metropolitan buses, and zero growth for regional buses and coaches.
Making Night Network permanent
The All night public transport trial on weekends will be made a permanent feature of Melbourne’s public transport network. This helps people get home safely on weekends, including young people.
Cost: $45.2m in 2017-18 ($173.9m over 5 years) including capital
Additional public transport services
The government will provide eight additional Werribee line train services in the shoulder peak to help address overcrowding. Additional tram and bus services will be delivered during construction of the Metro tunnel, including a St Kilda Road shuttle tram, 50 additional trams in the north-west (routes 57, 58, and 59), plus more Parkville bus services (route 401). It will also upgrade, extend and increase selected bus routes.
Cost: $20.9m in 2017-18 ($66.9m over 4 years) including capital
Public transport accessibility improvements
Oakleigh station will receive a lift and new ramps to improve accessibility, and a new Middle Park accessible tram stop will be built.
Cost: $1m in 2017-18 ($11.3m over 3 years)
Gippsland rail upgrade
The Gippsland rail line will be upgraded for greater frequency, reliability, punctuality and safety.
Cost: $13.5m in 2017-18 ($435m in total)
More E-class trams and infrastructure
Ten more E-class trams will be ordered, along with additional tram infrastructure. These are low-floor trams, improving accessibility of the tram fleet.
Cost: $28.2m in 2017-18 ($218.2m in total)
More VLocity trains for regional Victoria
The government will buy 39 more VLocity carriages for the V/Line network, primarily to serve growing demand for commuter services.
Cost: $37.1m in 2017-18 ($286.9m over 5 years)
M80 ring road upgrade
The government will widen the M80 ring road and install traffic management infrastructure to operate more safely and efficiently
Cost: $35m in 2017-18 ($699.2m in total)
The government will build the Mordialloc bypass, connecting the Mornington Peninsula Freeway to the Dingley Bypass
Cost: $3.3m in 2017-18 ($300m in total)
North-East Link planning work
The government will undertake initial planning work on a freeway to connect the Eastern Freeway with the M80 Ring Road, including determining a route and undertaking design work.
Cost: $80m in 2017-18 ($100m over 2 years)
VCOSS Future policy directions
Improve public transport accessibility
By the end of this year, the Victorian public transport system needs to be 90 per cent compliant with the national Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, a milestone it will miss by a considerable margin. The Victorian government can invest more in bringing our public transport system up to 21st century standards of accessibility, especially with more people requiring transport access as the NDIS rolls out, and our ageing population.
Invest in community transport
In the mid-year Budget Update, the Victorian government allocated $404.8 million over 4 years to reform the taxi industry, including funds from a new $2 passenger levy. Despite large amount of government funding invested in accessible taxis, they still provide a poor quality and expensive transport service for people with a disability and older Victorians. The Victorian can improve transport options for people with mobility difficulties by investing in community transport options, which are lower cost and provide more personalised services.
Help people facing disadvantage afford public transport
Access to public transport allows people to attend job interviews, health appointments, look for housing, and access work, education, community services and support networks. The Victorian government can review public transport fares and concessions, aiming for public transport fares to be proportionate and fair for people on low incomes.
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