Melbourne, VIC: Level crossings a significant election issue

16 Sep

With 180 level crossings in the Melbourne area, Victoria has major issues of road traffic delay and safety as well as a looming need to increase the train service. With a few high profile grade-separations underway, big ticket prices are evident and can be seen as honouring the present administration’s election commitment.

Now with state elections at the end of November 2014, the Labor party has pledged to sell or lease the Port of Melbourne an use the funds to eliminate 50 level crossings. Even at Labor’s own estimate, the total cost is estimated to be between AUD5-6 million based on an average cost of between AUD100-120 million for a grade-separation. The present administration’s view is that this underestimates costs and says that the cost will be around AUD8.5 billion.

Attractive as grade-separation is, there is no certainty that the proposed disposal of the Port of Melbourne will realise the necessary funds suggesting that the Labor proposal will founder at some point along the way over the anticipated eight-year programme to eliminate 50 crossings. With an election due after four years maybe a funding gap would hit during the administration after next. If this is the case Labor may only have a 50% chance of forming this administration and therefore the problem may not be their’s!

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