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The private consortium wanting to build the airport rail project would charge the state government a negotiated fee every time a Metro or V/Line train is run through the new tunnel.
The toll would be charged in exchange for building, operating and maintaining the twin 7-kilometre tunnels.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Daniel Andrews outline options for an airport rail link earlier this year.CREDIT:AAP
In response to questions about its market-led proposal, an AirRail spokesman confirmed the tunnel would have capacity to run six airport trains per hour.
In addition to these services, the state government could run four new non-airport Metro or V/Line services per hour through the tunnel, but would have to pay up every time.
The AirRail spokesman said the "access payment" would help the consortium recoup the cost of building and maintaining the tunnel. It would produce a “better result” for taxpayers, compared with “any other alternative”, he said.
"To make the cost of the new tunnel between Sunshine and Southern Cross Station affordable, we have proposed an access payment that is determined up front and would be a fair recovery for the significant cost of building the tunnel," the spokesman said.
“Our investment alongside the state and federal governments will mean that 2 million Victorian taxpayers and 6 million other Australia taxpayers will have a share in this iconic infrastructure and benefit from a fair return for having their retirement savings help fund it.”
The federal and state governments – each offering $5 billion for the project – are yet to agree on the $8-$13 billion project’s design.
While the Morrison government has backed an airport rail tunnel between the city and Sunshine, the Andrews government is considering an above-ground route that would stop at suburban stations. It has not ruled out a tunnel.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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