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The prime minister wants Melbourne to get an airport rail link to the CBD, but won't say if it will be funded in the federal budget.
Any money set aside for the long-awaited project would likely only be for planning, with the state government saying the rail link is a 15-to-30-year proposition.
"It's something that's always been seen as an omission in Melbourne, not to have a rail line out to the airport," Mr Turnbull told 3AW on Friday.
"There is no doubt as our cities become bigger and more densely settled, you need to have more mass transit."
But Mr Turnbull wouldn't say if funding for the line would be included in the 2017/18 federal budget.
Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said extensive planning work was needed to get the line ready.
"(We) look forward to working with (Canberra) to advance a business case on this project, which can't be built until the completion of the Metro Tunnel," she said in a statement.
Ms Allan said it would be 15-to-30-years before the line was built.
But state opposition public transport spokesman David Hodgett said Victoria should get on and build the link - preferably directly from the airport to the CBD, rather than through suburban stations.
Mr Hodgett said the cited cost of $5 billion was for one of the more expensive options.
"I think they have a heavy rail option there. I think you could do it much cheaper," he said.
The government has received unsolicited bids from private companies wanting to build a rail line to the Tullamarine airport, with one proposal to put a monorail above the Tullamarine freeway.
A Melbourne airport rail link was proposed by the previous Victorian coalition government, but the plan was dumped after Labor won power in 2014.
Infrastructure Victoria's 30-year strategy says the airport rail link should be built when the airport shuttle bus reaches capacity after 2032.
"This rail line will provide a higher capacity and higher quality service for interstate and international visitors to travel from the airport to the central city," said the strategy, released in December.
This article first appeared on www.sbs.com.au
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