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Lobby groups and councils have sent letters to federal politicians calling for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link tunnel to be built.
The project, which is one option currently being considered by the state government, would provide extra capacity to run more trains out of Melbourne to regional areas like Ballarat.
Other options include using existing tracks for airport trains, or connecting the airport link to the Melbourne Metro tunnel, which is still under construction.
A private consortium, which includes Melbourne Airport and a superannuation fund manager, is willing to pay $7 billion to construct the tunnel option, in partnership with the state and federal governments.
Committee for Ballarat chief executive Michael Poulton wrote a letter to federal Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, this week, urging the government to commit to the tunnel plan.
"Of the solutions currently on the table, the tunnel is the only one that enables the capacity required to meet the needs of Melbourne's western suburbs, airport travellers and importantly the growth of regional Victoria," he wrote.
Committee for Ballarat chief executive Michael Poulton. Picture: Adam Trafford
"We urge the Federal Government to show the leadership required and stand firm on its funding commitment for the MARL project, including the tunnel. It is the only solution that future-proofs Victoria's rail network for population growth."
The Committee for Melbourne also wrote to federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, stating a short term option would "risk compromising Victoria's west".
The letters follow other correspondence with state and federal representatives, lobbying on behalf of Geelong, Ballarat, rural shires, and tourism and rail groups.
Mr Poulton said discussions indicated an announcement would be "imminent".
"It's about the federal government stepping up to the plate to deliver on its commitments pre-election," he said.
"I have continued optimism that the decisions for the long term future of population settlement will guide government decision making for funding for substantial infrastructure.
"I think the Committee for Ballarat has done everything it can at this point in time, and that's aligning with key partners to show it has to be a state-based solution."
Mr Poulton has previously said if there is a better solution than a tunnel, the committee would be "its biggest supporter".
The state government has consistently said all options remain on the table, and plans will benefit regional Victoria.
This article first appeared on www.thecourier.com.au
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