22 October 2007

$80 Million for Two Road Overpasses to Enable Epping-Mernda Rail Extension

A re-elected Coalition Government will provide $80 million for the construction of two road overpasses to enable the extension of the rail line from Epping through to Mernda in Victoria.

The two major road overpasses would be built at McDonalds Road and Plenty Road.

Construction of the rail extension is long overdue. The State Government is wholly responsible for building and extending State rail lines.

In 1999 the Victorian Labor Party promised to extend the rail line to South Morang. More than eight years later, it has failed to deliver on this promise.

The rail line extension is an important piece of infrastructure for residents in the rapidly growing Epping–Mernda corridor. Thousands of families have moved to the area in the last decade and they are still without access to public transport, which is also putting massive pressure on local roads.

The funds will be allocated as part of the Australian Government’s road investment programme. The funding is conditional on the State Government making a firm commitment to building the railway and commencing major capital works on extending the rail line.

Local Liberal MP for McEwen, Fran Bailey said she was delighted with the announcement:

“The Coalition’s commitment to building the two road overpasses means there is no excuse for any more delays from the State Government. They must get on with extending the rail line to Mernda,” she said.

“This is a major cause of frustration and inconvenience for residents. Hours are spent in traffic, with only one road and a dirt track in and out to large housing estates for thousands of residents.

“A rail extension from Epping to Mernda will cut down on road traffic, meaning safer roads and less travel time, and it will also be good for the environment and enhance the local amenity. This initiative means there will not be any level crossings on these two major roads.

“I want to thank the South Morang Rail Alliance for their strong support. It’s now time for the State Government to urgently announce a clear timetable for the road and rail extension work to begin. Residents have waited far too long already. I won’t give up until we can catch that first train from Epping to Mernda.”

The Treasurer paid tribute to Fran Bailey for her tireless efforts on behalf of local residents.