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A NEW railway station and road extension near Point Cook will cost $110 million, a price a public transport group has described as ''over the top''.
The Williams Landing railway station, on the Werribee line, will cost $86 million, with an accompanying access road another $24 million.
Transport Minister Terry Mulder yesterday awarded the contract for the station to builders Abigroup.
The station will be built alongside the freeway to Geelong, to service booming suburbs surrounding the Point Cook area, and the Williams Landing development.
Stations built under the previous government, such as Laverton, did not have pedestrian ramps - leaving disabled passengers stranded when lifts broke down. Williams Landing station will have pedestrian ramps, stairs and lifts.
The new railway station will be staffed full-time, and also have a bus terminal and taxi rank, parking for about 500 cars, a footbridge across the railway line and freeway and facilities for cyclists.
Construction will begin this year and be completed late next year.
Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said that every new station, no matter who was in government, seemed to cost more and more.
''It's great the station is being built, but this cost does seem over the top,'' Mr Bowen said. ''More areas around Melbourne need access to the rail network but if the costs are prohibitively high it won't happen,'' he said.
In last November's state election, a fight broke out between Labor government transport minister Martin Pakula and Mr Mulder about the cost of building new stations.
One station that both Labor and the Coalition promised to build - at Southland shopping centre - varied wildly in price: Labor promised it for $45 million, while the Coalition said it would cost just $13 million.
During the election campaign Premier Ted Baillieu pledged a long-promised Public Transport Development Authority to, among other tasks, look at the costs of building new railway lines and stations.
That authority has still not been established.
Mr Mulder defended the cost of the station, saying it would ''provide good value for taxpayer dollars''.
He said the government had been forced to add $9 million to the project because of the added pedestrian ramps and an extra lane on the access road.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/rail-station-cost-over-the-top-20110815-1iut7.html#ixzz1V8Swugko
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