Victoria flags more freight rail infrastructure investment

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Rural track maintenance pledge follows big spending announcement

Victoria flags more freight rail infrastructure investment
The ARA backs rail investment


Victoria’s freight rail infrastructure is set to receive more attention once action starts on a $126 million state government rail investment pledge that includes passenger routes.

It is the second such pledge in a matter of weeks.

Ports and freight minister Melissa Horne and public transport minister Ben Carroll announce an $83 million freight improvement package will focus on replacing sleepers, repairing ballasts and renewing level crossing equipment along almost 400km of freight-only rail lines.

"These investments in our rail freight network are part of our ongoing commitment to boost our export power and support regional jobs," Horne says.

"The upgrades will mean produce can be transported from farm to port much more quickly, opening up key markets to Victorian farmers."

Read about the ARA’s plan to gain market share for rail, here

The maintenance blitz is a key part of the government’s $328 million investment in freight, public transport and roads upgrades, which will create and support more than 600 jobs during the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this month, the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has welcomed that additional funding for the Regional Rail Revival program.

 "It is good to see funding going to a project that is creating jobs and will improve connectivity between Melbourne and the rest of the state for the long term," ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie says

Regional Rail Revival is a joint Commonwealth and Victorian project and has already completed some upgrades to rail lines and stations in the regions.

The additional funding comes as part of new investment confirmed for shovel-ready infrastructure projects in Victoria to support the state’s economic recovery.

 "It is good to see funding for projects that will provide an immediate boost to our economy while also supporting long term value for the community," Wilkie says.

An ARA member survey of rail suppliers, contractors and freight operators found maintaining current projects and funding stimulus projects were the two most important actions governments could take to support the industry as it responds to Covid-19, according to the association.

It urges  that governments maintained a strong pipeline of rail projects to ensure infrastructure jobs could be maintained beyond the life of initial stimulus projects.


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