Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan are calling for expressions of interests for the development and delivery of Melbourne's Airport Rail Link.
The Victorian government are gauging the interest of potential private sector investors and operators.
“The search is on to find the best providers to develop a world-class airport rail link – that won’t only connect the CBD and the airport but deliver massive benefits to regional Victoria,” Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said.
Earlier this year, the Victorian Labor government promised to match a $5 billion funding pledge commitment from the federal government after selecting a preferred route, known as the Albion East alignment.
Of the four routes proposed, the Sunshine option was selected over routes travelling through Flemington, Craigieburn or tunnelling under the Maribyrnong defence site.
The full Business Case is currently under way for the Airport Rail Link in partnership with the Commonwealth.
Premier Daniel Andrews last year declared that construction on the rail link would be under way by the time the Metro Tunnel was finished in 2025.
It is now understood the project, which is estimated to cost between $8 billion and $13 billion, will commence construction by 2022.
“This project has been talked about for too long, it’s time to get on and build it and that’s exactly what we’ll do,” Andrews said.
Melbourne Airport says it expects 68 million visitors a year by 2038. Last year more than 30 million passengers and around 250,000 tonnes of freight passed through the airport.
To coincide with the proposed Rail Link, plans have also been unveiled to redevelop the airport precinct, including a new domestic terminal and a major refit of international facilities.
The Victorian government has also released plans for a $50 billion underground rail network, which will form a circle around Melbourne’s suburbs.
The project has been marketed as the “largest public transport project in Australian history”.
The creation of the north-western section of the Suburban Rail Loop will fall within construction plans for the Airport Rail Link.
“We’re already building the Metro Tunnel, removing level crossings, and expanding our roads – we’ll build the Melbourne Airport Rail Link and Suburban Rail Loop our state needs,” Premier Andrews said.