According to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in a statement from the Federal Government announcing the funding, the $5 billion is invested as a “half share in the project to build the railway from the city to Melbourne Airport.”
Mr. Turnbull said for over 50 years people have been wanting rail link to Melbourne Airport to improve connectivity and relieve congestion across the city.
“Everybody in Melbourne uses this airport and this will make it possible to get to this airport by train,” Mr Turnbull said.
“The Tullamarine freeway is getting more and more congested. Too many Melburnians and visitors spend too many hours stuck in traffic trying to get to and from this airport,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the project was long overdue.
“This particular land space that Tullamarine is on is twice as big as Heathrow. We need a vision for the future to make sure that the 34 million passengers using the airport this year, which is going to expand to 60 million and perhaps double in the next 20 years, have a link to the CBD that they so desperately need,” Mr McCormack said.
“This is going to ease congestion. This is going to create jobs. This is an investment for the here and now, but certainly, an investment for the future,
“It is one of the capital cities of the world as far as sporting and culture are concerned and people love coming to Melbourne and they’re going to be loving coming to this airport and then being able to go to the city on this airport link in the future,” he said.
Treasurer Scott Morrison said the rail link is national infrastructure and is more than just another railway.
“This will be—this $5 billion investment in this nationally important project, the Tulla Rail—will be the single largest infrastructure commitment in this year’s budget,” Mr Morrison said.
“This is a serious project. Our money is on the table. It is in the Budget and we are looking to form a real and new partnership with the Victorian government to make this happen,” he said.
A $30 million feasibility study into the project was funded in 2017’s budget and is expected to have results later in September to October to provide information.
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Chief Executive Officer Danny Broad said the link between the CBD and Melbourne Airport is vital.
“The ARA is of the view that any proposed route will need to consider the highest frequency for commuters, journey time so it is to compete with other modes of travel and be accessible to commuters who travel to large regional centres, including Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo,” Mr Broad said.
“Infrastructure Australia has already identified the corridor between Melbourne CBD and the Melbourne Airport as one of the most congested and one where the Tullamarine Freeway is already at capacity,” he said.
“With Melbourne’s population forecast to reach 8 million by 2051 and the increase in international and interstate travellers, it is important for the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments to act now.”