New trains and a massive increase in basic maintenance are the focus of a $403 million Victorian Coalition Government boost for public transport to help to improve the daily commute for Victorians.
Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the 2011-12 Victorian Budget delivered on the Coalition Government’s commitment to invest in new trains, improve level crossings, build and upgrade stations and increase key maintenance works.
“The Coalition Government is acting to get the basics of our public transport network right, starting with new trains and better maintenance,” Mr Mulder said.
“We need to fix the problems that are obvious to people who use the trains every day – a lack of basic maintenance and overcrowding that ruins the journey to and from work.
“Too often commuters are stranded by basic faults with wiring or signalling, with cancellations leading to increased overcrowding on the next train.
“Better maintenance and more trains are the obvious solutions to get our network back on track and that is exactly what this Budget delivers,” Mr Mulder said.
Highlights of the infrastructure works boost for public transport include:
- $222 million for the immediate purchase of seven new trains as part of a commitment to 40 new trains;
- an additional $100 million for maintenance over four years, making a total of $900 million;
- $16.5 million to begin removing level crossings at key locations;
- $19.9 million for station projects including an $11.9 million upgrade of Balaclava Station,
- $2.5 million to re-open Talbot Station, funding for the planning of new stations at Southland and Grovedale, an upgrade to Ballan Station and an initial $2 million to plan for the upgraded Ringwood Railway Station;
- $8 million over four years to preserve W-class trams;
- $10 million to open unused railway station buildings for community and sporting groups;
- $20 million over four years to improve access for Victorians with a disability to public transport; and
- $1.4 million over four years to restore the operation of the Williamstown bicycle ferry and almost $6 million for a range of smaller projects including the re-opening of the New Street railway gates in Brighton and car parking at Beaconsfield Railway Station.
Mr Mulder said the Budget provided for the immediate purchase of seven extra X’Trapolis trains which would be running on the network in 2014, while design and planning would commence for the manufacture of a further 33 high-capacity trains.
“This investment will deliver an enormous increase in the capacity and performance of the metropolitan train network,” Mr Mulder said.
Mr Mulder said an additional $100 million had been allocated to the ‘Maintaining our Rail Network Fund’, bringing maintenance funding to $900 million.
“Upgrading sleepers, replacing points, signals and overhead wires and extending the train control system are all essential to the safe and reliable operation of the network,” Mr Mulder said.
“In contrast to the grandiose, underfunded and undelivered promises of the former Labor Government, the Coalition Government’s nuts-and-bolts approach will deliver massive benefits for passengers, reducing the number of delayed trains and providing a safer and more punctual network.”
Mr Mulder said the network would also benefit from a plan to begin removing 10 level crossings at key metropolitan locations.
“Our first priorities will be the notorious level crossings at Rooks Road and Mitcham Road in Mitcham and Springvale Road, Springvale,” Mr Mulder said.