The State Government’s failure to commit to co-funding the Frankston train extension is jeopardising the Federal funding that the project has already received. Funding to start the project during 2019-2020 has now slipped out of the Federal budget announced two weeks ago.
The extension of the Frankston train line – and the benefits it will bring – is not guaranteed. Extending the train line requires both federal and state government funding. The Federal Liberal Government secured $225 million of Commonwealth funding for the project in last year’s budget. If elected, the Federal Labor Party has pledged to back that commitment.
However, the State Government is analysing whether the benefits of the project outweigh the costs of building it before it announces whether it will co-fund the project. The analysis remains unfinished 12 months after it started and 3 years after it was pledged at the last federal election. If the Victorian State government does not back the project, it cannot go ahead.
‘The delay is difficult to understand,’ said Ginevra Hosking from the Committee for Greater Frankston. ‘The public benefits of the Frankston rail extension have been well documented, widely disseminated through the community, and strongly supported by our region’s major organisations.’
The project will radically transform public transport in our region, drive creation of new jobs and improve overall prosperity, reduce congestion on roads, free-up crowded car parks, and make better use of public and private assets such as Frankston Hospital and Monash’s Peninsula campus.
Major benefits include:
1. Connecting 13,500 residents of Karingal, Frankston Heights and Lakeside to Melbourne’s metropolitan train network. It would provide a new Langwarrin station for almost 24,000 residents, and link 160,000 residents of the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne’s rail network. Getting people to jobs up the Frankston rail line, out of their cars, off congested roads and home sooner. And reversing a decline in rail patronage at the southern end of the Frankston line.
2. Providing a new station at Frankston East to benefit 11,000 staff and students at Monash University’s Peninsula campus and Chisholm TAFE as well as 4500 staff, patients and visitors at Frankston Hospital, which is expected to almost double in size over the next decade. The extension will provide six-times more Monash students with access to their campus within 50 minutes travelling time (HALE 2018).
3. Freeing up scare car parking in central Frankston so it’s easier to shop and do business in our city.