Melbourne could soon be the home of an airport rail link, with the Federal government granting $5 billion to the project and the state government pledging to equal the grant with a further $5 billion, if the labour government is re-elected in November.
The project is said to commence by 2022 with four possible routes being considered. Possible routes include passing through Flemington, Craigieburn or tunnelling under the Maribyrnong defence site. Currently the most favoured route for the airport rail link is for it to pass through Sunshine, where a new ‘Super Hub’ will be built. The ‘Super Hub’ will include links to both regional and metro train lines and would see a boost in services to both Geelong and Ballarat. This route would also mean less disruption to homes and businesses in the area.
The total cost of the airport rail link has been estimated to cost between $8 billion – $13 billion. This would mean that there is potential for a partnership with the private sector to help cover further costs. It has not been revealed yet if this would mean an increase of tickets fares once the rail link is completed.
The airport rail link is being welcomed by Melboune airport and Melbournians. Last year alone Melbourne Airport saw more than 30 million passengers and around 250,000 tonnes of freight pass through its facilities. By the time the new rail link has opened, it is estimated that this amount will more than double with 68 million visitors expected by 2038