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VICTORIANS want a rail line to the airport ahead of a new rail tunnel through inner Melbourne or the East West Link, a Herald Sun/Galaxy Poll has found.
More than one-third of voters surveyed in the poll said a city to airport rail link should be a higher priority than other major infrastructure projects promised by the Government and State Opposition.
Those surveyed were able to nominate what they thought was the most important project out of the airport link, the Metro rail capacity project that will link northwest Melbourne to South Yarra, getting rid of 50 of the worst rail crossings, or the East West Link from Sunshine to the Eastern Freeway.
While 34 per cent said the airport project was number one, 30 per cent nominated Labor’s big transport promise - getting rid of 50 dangerous level crossings - as the highest priority project.
The Coalition Government’s big ticket infrastructure project, the East West Link, came in next, tied with building the Metro rail tunnel.
Both Labor and Coalition supporters chose the airport rail link above any other project as the most important transport need.
Public transport users association president Tony Morton said removing the level crossings would have wide benefits across the whole of Melbourne, while the airport link had substantial community support and was long overdue.
“If it’s what’s going to have the most day-to-day benefit, it’s probably the level crossings,” Mr Morton said.
“If it’s about economic impact and business importance to the state, it’s likely to be the airport link.”
Mr Morton said all options were ultimately hypothetical until the government committed to build one.
“We have to see the money on the table before we have any real debate on this
“It’s going to take more than one big project announcement to get things back on track; we’ve largely wasted the last three years not starting any projects,” he said.
RACV public policy manager Brian Negus said transport would be a crucial issue at November’s state election.
“Congestion already costs the state economy $3 billion per year, with this cost set to increase to $6 billion per year by 2020,” Mr Negus said.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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