As the road to the 2018 state election heats up, Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy has announced a radical $19 billion plan to introduce high-speed rail between Melbourne and Geelong.
The opposition leader pledged to build a “European-style high-speed rail” link to promote economic growth in regional areas and promised to deliver the network within four years if elected.
Guy boasted that the ambitious proposal will halve travel times between Victoria’s largest regional centre and its capital with a 200km/h train service.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the opposition leader said that the proposal was the cornerstone of the Liberal-Nationals plan to ease population congestion.
The minister did not reveal how the project, with an estimated $15 billion to $19 billion budget, would be funded but told radio station 3AW that the fully-costed plan would be released prior to the election. He admitted that federal funding “would help”.
“Hopefully there is money from the feds [sic] that will come.”
Melbourne Guy told 3AW host Neil Mitchell that investing in fast rail was key to the “decentralisation” of Melbourne.
“Melbourne’s population is bursting.
“With 2,500 people coming to Melbourne each week we must decentralise our population [and] European-style fast-rail at 200km/hr is the key way to achieve it.”
“I’m going to an election, I’m seeking a mandate from Victorians to lead a government that will [take] the pressure off Melbourne and take control of population growth once and for all.”
Guy said that the billion-dollar costing would be “realistic” if spread over 10 years.
The opposition has not yet executed a business case but the Minister said they plan to do so prior the November election.
For its part, the Andrews’ government released plans for a $50 billion “suburban rail loop” in August, marketing it as the largest public transport project in Australia’s history.
Premier Daniel Andrews said that the project will be built over multiple decades with the first sections anticipated to take around 10 years to construct.
The Victorian state election will take place on November 24.