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A CO-OWNER of Melbourne airport has flagged its interest in investing in a train line to Tullamarine.
The Sunday Herald Sun can reveal pension fund giant IFM Investors, which owns 23.67 per cent of the airport, is considering the merits of investing in the long-awaited rail link.
The Sunday Herald Sun understands the State Government is aware of the company’s interest in partnering to build a train line to the airport, but it has not received any formal proposal.
IFM also owns Southern Cross station — where an airport train would run to and from — and has already submitted a market-led proposal for its upgrade.
This $300 million plan includes an elevated walkway, expanded bus terminal and longer train platforms to deal with a big pedestrian traffic increase.
Industry speculation last week suggested IFM was also developing a market-led proposal for the airport rail link — the company refuted this.
“As investors in Melbourne airport and Southern Cross station, we think the time will come to invest in a Melbourne Airport rail link, however that timing is currently unclear,” an IFM spokeswoman said last night.
“We support the need for a study to determine the timing and what the solution looks like.”
Both sides of politics have expressed a renewed willingness to consider an airport rail link after Infrastructure Victoria said it was needed within the next 15 to 30 years.
Melbourne airport has also ramped up the pressure on the government, declaring in a submission to Infrastructure Victoria the train line was required within 15 years.
Airport chief executive Lyell Strambi said Tullamarine would be catering for 64 million passengers within 15 to 20 years, 30 per cent more than predicted by the government’s independent planning body.
Mr Strambi said this would lead to traffic chaos without a public transport alternative, as travel times from the CBD were due to increase by 50 per cent in the coming decades.
“The existing road network will exceed its capacity and create untenable delays for traffic between the airport and the CBD in the next 10 to 15 years,” he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews said, in October, it was “not an unworthy project” and “there’ll be a time when an airport rail link stacks up”.
Opposition public transport spokesman David Hodgett said the Coalition was “open to all good ideas” because the proposed airport link was “desperately needed”.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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