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A MAJOR transport plan for the Andrews Government is in danger of falling apart after a key player pulled out.
After 13 years’ advocating for rail connections to the Port of Melbourne, Salta Properties will no longer apply for funding from the Port Rail Shuttle Project.
The $58 million program is looking to fund a series of rail lines to connect the Port of Melbourne to freight hubs and take thousands of trucks off Melbourne’s heaving roads.
Salta’s decision has surprised many close to the process because the commercial developer has spent years preparing two sites for rail shuttles and has been an outspoken advocate for inland ports connected by rail.
Stakeholders now fear the long-awaited rail hubs in Melbourne’s west and southeast may never go ahead.
Sources claim Salta could not work with the government’s plans.Container Transport Alliance Australia director Neil Chambers said the news had thrown the future of the state government’s plans into question. “There’s only a limited number of organisations who can be a bidder for this,” he said. “It is concerning with an organisation like that pulling out — where does it leave the process?”
Sources associated with the project told the Herald Sun that Salta might have had no choice but to pull out because it could not work with the government’s plans.
Opposition spokesman David Hodgett said it was a blow for Victoria.
“Thousands of jobs and business rely on us getting this project right,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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