Vic Labor plan to can East-West project and sell Port of Melbourne lease

timthumbThe Victorian Labor Opposition has released an ambitious transport revitalisation plan should it win government at the next election.

The centrepiece of the plan is the scrapping of the East-West road tunnel project, the construction of the Metro rail, removing 5,000 trucks a day off the West Gate bridge by building the West Gate Distributor, and spending $2 billion in total on outer suburban and regional roads. The plan also calls for the removal of 50 level rail crossings.

Dubbed Project 10,000, the plan promises to create 10,000 construction jobs, and is to be funded in large part by the sale of the Port of Melbourne lease for an unnamed number of years. The plan cites the NSW example of the sale of the Port Botany lease, which was for 99 years and raised just over $4 billion.

Level crossings

The removal of level crossings alone will cost $5-6 billion according to the plan, to be funded by the Victorian Transport Building Fund (VTBF). The project also relies on ‘value capture’ from the sale of real estate above rail lines to be sold off once the rail lines are buried underground at the targeted level crossings.

West Gate Distributor

According to the plan, “Victorian Labor will take 5,000 trucks a day off the West Gate Bridge by building the West Gate Distributor within the first term of a Victorian Labor Government.

“Victorian Labor will also increase capacity on the West Gate Freeway by adding an extra lane in each direction between the Western Ring Road and Williamstown Road using overhead lane management technology currently in use on the M1.

“Cost: $400-500 million (Estimated TEI).”

Construction of the West Gate distributor will consist of three main components:

Component 1: West Gate Freeway on-and-off ramps and an elevated road along Hyde Street, Yarraville.

Component 2: Upgrade and duplication of Whitehall Street between Francis Street and Somerville Road.

Component 3: Strengthening of Shepherd Bridge and upgrade into Footscray Road.

While the West Gate Distributor will deliver huge benefits for Geelong, Ballarat and western suburban road commuters travelling over the West Gate Bridge, it will also deliver a significant productivity increase for the freight industry as journey times are reduced.

Victorian Transport Building Fund

The VTBF will be a dedicated transport investment fund established initially using proceeds from the long term lease of the Port of Melbourne, with other revenue to be invested as and when it becomes available.

Proceeds from the Port of Melbourne lease will kick-start the fund and all payments out of the VTBF will be limited to funding required to deliver new transport-related capital projects.

Initially it is expected that a large share of the VTBF’s expenditure will be used to fund the eradication of 50 of Victoria’s worst level crossings. It is also expected that by eradicating a large number of these level crossings, new land will become available for further development as part of Infrastructure Victoria’s value capture strategy.

Further revenue from this value capture strategy will be reinvested back into the fund then appropriated back out to projects in line with the objectives of Project 10,000.

The project also envisages the involvement of private enterprise in the building phase, as well as tolls on some of the new roads.

 

Source: Transport and Logistics News www.TandLnews.com.au

 

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