Today Victorian Labor pledged to kick-start work on Melbourne’s $15.8 billion North East Link toll road on day-one back in office.
The 26km road, which will connect the M80 ring road at Greensborough with the Eastern Freeway, was first proposed by Labor in 2008.
Premier Daniel Andrews recommitted to the project in 2016 and has already put more than $200 million into planning and design.
This morning he promised to call for construction tenders on Monday if successful at the ballot box.
“The tender process will begin on Monday and I know that there will be significant interest from construction companies both here and abroad to get on and build this road,” he told reporters.
He expects construction to start in 2020 and the road to open in 2027. The road will be fully funded by taxpayers.
The premier alongside transport minister Jacinta Allen. (AAP)
The road and rail plans would increase net debt to12 percent of Gross State Product, borrowing $25.6 billion to build North East Link, the Airport Rail Link and level crossing removals.
“We pay some, and our kids… who will be the principal beneficiaries, will also make a contribution to the projects that are so vitally important,” Treasurer Tim Pallas told 9News.
Mr Pallas said the state can maintain its AAA credit rating through a dedicated infrastructure fund that would take a $2.3 billion dividend from Victorian insurers over a four-year period.
The treasurer added that there is “no need for new taxes” to fulfil the government’s election commitments.
“I am not going to constrain the Victorian economy by not being able to make changes where we see the changes are appropriate,” he said.
Both Labor and the Liberal Party have promised to build the North East Link toll road, although Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has said he will review the plans if he wins office.
Mr Guy’s seat of Bulleen is affected by the current proposed route.
Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said a review of the project by a Liberal-Nationals government would delay construction.
“A vote for the Liberal party … will mean it will be delayed, continue to be delayed forever,” he said.
Melbourne North-East link design. (AAP)
“The last four years that the Liberal party were in they simply didn’t get a major project started and completed in their term.”
Mr Andrews said the project “stacks up”, unlike the dumped East West Link toll road, which cost the state more than $1 billion to scrap in 2014.
“We have got to accept funnelling people through the centre of the city is not the answer,” he added.
“Finishing the ring road will allow people to move around the city that’s what stacks up.”
Mr Andrews then set off for Deer Park, in the state’s west, to announce the removal of three rail level crossings, some of Labor’s hit-list of 25 if re-elected.
Victorians go to the polls on Saturday.
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