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A metropolitan rail tunnel must be the priority for Victorian transport because other rail projects cannot go ahead without it, federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says.
In the latest round of a long-running slanging match between the federal and state government on transport funding, Mr Albanese said rail projects like the Melbourne airport link and the Doncaster rail line could not go ahead without the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.
But Victorian premier Denis Napthine, who argues the East West road link is the state's top priority, said on Wednesday Victoria is being discriminated against when it comes to federal transport funding.
Dr Napthine wants $1.5 billion in federal money for the road link, a project he says is ready to go.
The federal government has promised $3 billion for the rail tunnel.
On Tuesday, Infrastructure Australia had their say, determining the rail tunnel was in its second-highest priority category.
The East West link was placed in its third-highest priority category.
Mr Albanese said politics had got in the way of discussions with the Victorian government on the metro tunnel and he hopes after the federal election the state government will reconsider taking funding for the rail project.
"Unless you do the Melbourne Metro you can't do the Doncaster extension, you can't do an airport line," Mr Albanese told Fairfax Radio.
Dr Napthine said a road project similar to East West link in Sydney had been promised federal funding.
"It's clear discrimination against Melbourne and Victoria," he told reporters in Melbourne.
"It's about time under the new federal leadership that this discrimination against Victoria stopped and we got our fair share of funding, which includes $1.5 billion for East West stage one."
Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews would not buy into which project he favoured, but said there were many unanswered questions about the costs of East West link.
This article first appeared on au.news.yahoo.com
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