Airport rail link closer to take off as joint agreement signed

Melbourne Airport Rail Link (MARL) is set to become a reality, with the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments formally signing off on the project.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the signing of the Heads of Agreement, which sets out the strategic objectives, governance arrangements and information sharing processes for the $10 billion joint commitment. 

Morrison said the people of Melbourne and Victoria had been waiting far too long for the rail link to become a reality: “For decades Victorians have talked about a train line to the airport. We are delivering it. In last year’s Budget we made a $5 billion investment in the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, it was the biggest infrastructure commitment in the Budget. Melbourne is truly a global city that deserves world class infrastructure. The Rail Link is part of our plan to bust congestion across the city and get people home faster and safer." 

A project team will be established to drive the development of a full Business Case for the project, which will not only connect Melbourne Airport to the rail network for the first time – but also integrate it with the Metro Tunnel and the future Suburban Rail Loop, and pave the way for fast-rail to the regions.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the Victorian Government is not wasting a minute leading the planning work for an Airport Rail Link that delivers for all Victorians: “The Melbourne Airport Rail Link has been talked about for far too long – we’re doing the detailed planning and development work to make it a reality. By choosing the Sunshine route, we are ensuring all Victorians can benefit from the rail link, including people living in Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.”

Melbourne Airport is a key part of Victoria and Australia’s economic growth. In 2016-17, it handled more than 35 million passenger movements and by 2038, it is expected to almost double to more than 67 million. 

Melbourne Airport Rail Link will alleviate congestion on the main road connection to the airport, the Tullamarine Freeway, and unlock capacity for the growing population in Melbourne’s north-west.

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said following the successful widening of the Tullamarine Freeway, the airport link would bust congestion for generations to come: “This is a critical project for Melbourne. It will make it easier for residents and makes our city more attractive to visitors. When complete, someone in Pakenham, Frankston or Ringwood will be able to get onto the train, and be at the airport in the time it would have taken to drive, but without having to worry about parking.”

The total cost of the project is estimated to be in the range of $8-13 billion, with construction to take up to nine years and due to commence in 2022.

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