Victoria pledges $3b for transport in State Budget

Victorian Government makes down payment of $3 billion on transport projects as part of State Budget

The Victorian Government has made a down payment $3 billion on transport projects, with yesterday’s State Budget declared the first step in delivering an ambitious $38 billion transport infrastructure plan.

The State Government has announced a number of funding commitments for roads as outlined its transport plan, with more than $20 billion earmarked for infrastructure projects over the next four years.

But the Budget will remain in surplus, Treasurer John Lenders declared, with the State relying on a funding injection from the Commonwealth to fund its transport commitments.

Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas says the $992 million allocated for road works in 2009-10 will reduce congestion, connect important parts of the State and make the road network safer.

The first stage of the Tullamarine Freeway and Sydney Road widening project has been allocated $129 million, part of the larger $2.25 billion M80 project.
The "short to medium term" project that makes up part of the Victorian Transport Plan is due to start by the end of 2009.

Stage A1 of the project — known as the M80 Ring Road — will be delivered in conjunction with the $129 million contributed by the Brumby Government and with the Rudd Federal Government funds from the Nation Building (Auslink II) road projects fund.

About $25 million will be invested over four years to build a new interchange at the Kings Road intersection with the Calder Freeway to improve safety and enhance local access to growing new suburbs.

Another $74.6 million has been allocated for the 3.5km Dingley Arterial between Perry and Springvale Roads which will begin in 2010. The works will connect the South Gippsland Highway to Westall Road to open access to growing industrial hubs like Keysborough.

Just over $354.3 million will be spent over four years for the Peninsula Link project, a 25km, toll-free, four-lane connection between EastLink at Carrum Downs and Mt Martha.

The Budget has a particular focus on regional roads, with $7.5 million for upgrading local roads as part of the Government's Local Road to Market program.

Pallas says it will boost the Victorian freight industry by enhancing linkages for key regional industries like grain, dairy, livestock, horticultural and timber.

Meanwhile, $4.2 million has been set aside to increase the use of low emission vehicles in Victoria.

Pallas says an increased focus on low emission vehicles will address private and Victorian Government vehicle use.

"We will also support Victorian companies to reduce pollution produced by vehicles, by encouraging them to invest in low-emission vehicles and set voluntary emission reduction targets," he says.

"As part of this investment, we will set mandatory carbon emission targets for Government vehicle fleets."

A further $6.7 million has been pledged to the Automotive Manufacturing Action Plan (VAMAP), announced last year, which is designed to help vehicle manufacturers invest in new technologies like hybrids and alternative fuels while helping tap global supply chains.

"The business development program will develop the international competitiveness of companies at all levels of the supply chain," Minister for Industry and Trade Martin Pakula says.

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