Victoria was hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and strict lockdowns and restrictions have crippled the state’s economy. The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has thrown its support behind the Victorian Budget 2020/21, which includes $1.6 billion towards road network and infrastructure initiatives.
It’s been described by the Victorian Government as the “Budget to repair, recover, and make us stronger than before,” designed to kickstart the state’s recovery from the unprecedented effects of coronavirus.
The VTA has backed the Victorian Budget, which is said contains numerous measures to help improve productivity for Victorian freight operators, largely in the form of infrastructure works on the state’s transport networks that will ease road congestion throughout Melbourne and across the state.
Of the $1.6 billion dedicated to road network and infrastructure initiatives, $2.5 million will go towards the ‘Summer Streets’ program to provide traffic management during COVID safe outdoor events; $117 million will be used for road and intersection upgrades across Melbourne; and $411 million towards resurfacing, rebuilding and maintaining 1700 kilometres of roads.
Rail also faired well in the Budget, with $2.2 billion on the Suburban Rail Loop, $2 billion on Geelong fast rail, and $660 million for the next stages of upgrades on the Shepparton and Warrnambool line.
The government will also spend $276.5 million on the Dandenong corridor to allow for faster high-capacity metro trains to run and $5.5 million on track works around Caulfield station to enable the separation of the Frankston and Dandenong lines.
Melbourne will also get an airport rail connection with the Commonwealth and Victorian government each contributing $5 billion towards a project that aims to dramatically ease pressure on road networks in the north and north west of the city.
To add, a Building Works Package will provide $359 million for maintenance and repairs for transport infrastructure including resurfacing roads, maintaining rail and upgrading jetties and piers, with $20 million to upgrade key freight routes and support agricultural supply chains.
“After a horror year, significant action was required to spur economic growth, recover jobs and restore Victorians’ confidence in our state,” said VTA CEO Peter Anderson.
“The government is to be commended for initiating projects that will ease congestion on our transport networks, which will support freight and logistics operators in their ongoing quest to improve productivity and the service they provide their customers and Victorian consumers.”