By Alesha Capone and Tara Murray
Wyndham council has welcomed the federal government’s $30 million funding commitment to the Western Rail Plan, as outlined in last week’s federal budget.
Under the plan, the state and federal governments will deliver two new electrified metropolitan train lines to Melton and Wyndham Vale, which are currently serviced by diesel V-Line trains to Ballarat and Geelong.
Electrification of a separate rail-line to Wyndham Vale would also be required to enable a fast rail connection to Geelong.
Wyndham council’s chief executive Kelly Grigsby said: “Both Wyndham and Geelong are facing issues with the capacity of the Regional Rail Line to meet demand from years of rapid urban growth.
“Bringing this plan forward will provide urgently needed capacity for additional trains to Wyndham Vale and Tarneit.”
The Western Rail Plan would also potentially link the Wyndham Vale line with the Werribee line, which Ms Grigsby described as “an important component for the Suburban Rail Loop which will connect every rail line from Cheltenham to Werribee.”
The state government’s 2019-20 budget included $100 million to deliver detailed planning and design works for the Western Rail Plan.
Staging of the Western Rail Plan is being considered alongside planning which is underway for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link business case, which is due this year.
In last week’s budget, the federal government also brought forward $5 million funding for the Outer Metropolitan Ring Road/E6 corridor preservation, a 100 kilometre-long high-speed transport link to create better connections to key transport hubs such as Melbourne Airport, Avalon Airport and the proposed Western Interstate Freight Terminal.
The funding has been brought forward because the business case for the initiative is expected to be completed in December.
Ms Grigsby said the council hoped the federal budget would also assist Wyndham residents in recovering from the economic impact of the pandemic.
“As one of the hardest-hit municipalities in Australia during COVID-19, Wyndham residents need assistance and support from all three tiers of government,” she said.
“In March, Wyndham City announced a $5 million stimulus package – the WynLocal Economic Support Package – designed to address the impacts of COVID-19 on the community.”