You know a town with money’s a little like the mule with a spinning wheel: No one knows how he got it, and danged if knows how to use it.
But it’s not Lyle Lanley rolling into town with a winning personality and a jaunty tune trying to win over gullible townsfolk. Rather, it’s a private consortium with money to burn apparently floating the idea of a high-speed monorail line that would link up the Melbourne CBD and the rapidly-expanding Melbourne Airport.
A rail link to the airport is one of the mostly desperately wanted infrastructure projects in Melbourne, with the city’s growing population and the airport’s near-constant expansion putting increased pressure on the Tullamarine Freeway, which is currently the only way in or out of the airport precinct.
Reports have now emerged that the private-sector consortium has approached the Andrews Government with a $1.2billion plan to put the rail into operation, which would see a high-frequency service ferry people into the CBD in 16 minutes at a cost of $25 per one-way ticket.
Peter O’Brien, a spokesman for the private-sector group stated that a monorail project comes in at around a third of the cost of a regular ground-level rail link, and would not require Government subsidies to build.
“The other benefits are very high frequency [travel] which means people can have reliability and it’s on its own road which means it’s not going to be interfered with by accidents.”
“It’s highly sustainable. There’s a lot going on in the train space but you’d never know it in an English speaking country like Australia.”
Premier Daniel Andrews stated that he was aware of the plan, and confirmed that members of his Government had been briefed on the proposal. But he was quick to assert that an airport link was low on the list of Infrastructure Victoria‘s priorities.
“This is not an unworthy project. I’ve always said there will be a time when additional services, public transport, train services of some configuration would be important for Melbourne Airport, a great asset to our state, a big employer, curfew-free.”
“I think the removal of dangerous and congested level crossings, additional rolling stock, Melbourne metro and some other suburban line extensions, they’re more important right now.”
“Infrastructure Victoria makes the point this week that there’s additional capacity for bus services, more of them, faster bus services. We want to explore that properly.”
For the time being, it’s a mere pipe-dream, and the Tullamarine Freeway widening project will mean bus travel to the airport is significantly slowed for the foreseeable future.
But a monorail? It ain’t a bad idea. After all, it put Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook on the map.
Source: ABC News.