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An Avalon Airport rail link could form its own project separate to Geelong fast rail, the state’s Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan has revealed.
Ms Allan visited Geelong on Tuesday to meet with key stakeholders after the weekend’s announcement that the state government would match a $2bn federal commitment to complete the first stage of Geelong fast rail, work expected to begin by 2023.
While Ms Allan couldn’t give an end date for the first stage, she said the next step was to get to work on “defining the scope of the project and the delivery timeframes subject to planning approvals” in order to determine a completion date.
“As important as it is to support Geelong people getting in and out of Melbourne for their daily commute, it’s also important to bring more people out of Melbourne and into the Geelong region via better rail services,” she said.
The Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, centre, met with local MPs Christine Couzens and Darren Cheeseman in Geelong on Monday. Picture: SuppliedThe announcement was welcomed by stakeholders, but criticised for its lack of detail and the initially promised 50-minute travel time.
Ms Allan said the government was having “further discussions” about the possibility of connecting Avalon Airport to the rail network.
“What we know is the work that needs to be done on connecting Avalon to a rail link can be done separately to these works,” Ms Allan said.
“It can be delivered as a stand-alone project because it only touches the network where the line would join back into the existing network.
Avalon Airport chief executive Justin Giddings said an airport stop would help keep Victoria competitive with Sydney’s two airports.
“We welcomed any infrastructure upgrades that improve travel times between Geelong and Melbourne and think it’s a good announcement,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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