Federal Liberals have hatched a plan for the Morrison Government to revive the East West Link by increasing its contribution to $4 billion, as internal polling shows the party faces an election wipe-out in Victoria.
Senior Liberals have told the Herald Sun they fear that up to a dozen federal seats in Victoria are under serious threat at this year’s election.
The East West Link push, spearheaded by eastern suburbs MP Michael Sukkar with the support of other MPs, has been backed by party research that shows the giant project — dumped by the state Labor government — is still a “vote shifter”.
Victorian Liberals this week presented a proposal to Prime Minister Scott Morrision in Melbourne that would see the commonwealth offer Premier Daniel Andrews all the government money needed to pay for the new toll road between the Eastern Freeway and CityLink.
The Morrison Government has so far offered Victoria $3 billion towards EWL, expected to cost at least $7 billion. Liberal sources believe that if the federal government added another $1 billion, that would remove the need for any state government contribution.
A 2014 artist impression of the western portal on the East West Link.The remaining $3 billion would come from the private sector. The PM is understood to have rejected the push, although he left open the possibility of revisiting the issue closer to the federal election.