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Melbourne Airport Rail Link Not a Priority

Several months ago, we talked about the major hot button issue of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link. We discussed the pros and cons of this huge project and even brought up the mystery of the hidden rail station that some people believe is hidden underneath the airport. Nothing has been mentioned about the Melbourne Airport Rail Link until recently.

Photo credit: kaktuslampan on Visualhunt.com

Again the Melbourne Airport Rail Link is Back in the Spotlight

Discussions regarding the development of an airport rail line have simmered down in the past few weeks. Mostly because both sides have given their opinions and there hasn’t been anything new to discuss. That was until the Roads Minister was asked about it during a recent press conference.

A press conference was held to allow the current Roads Minister to discuss a new, upcoming project. That project involves using close to $300 million to widen the roads around the Metropolitan Ring Road. It was during this press conference that the Melbourne Airport Rail Link was brought up.

Will the Melbourne Airport Rail Link be Built?

The answer that was provided during the press conference indicated that, while the government recognises a need for the airport rail station, there was no immediate plan to build one. The priority, according to the government, is the expansion of the roads that lead into and out of the airport.

Why focus on the roads?

There is a common belief that it is new roads, not an airport rail link, which will help improve traffic around the airport. The widening of the roads is believed to help decrease travel times by improving the flow of traffic.

Currently, according to some institutions, there is just no evidence to support that a rail link will help with the flow of traffic. This belief is held because people believe not enough locals will be using it to improve travel times and flow of traffic.

Another theory is that there isn’t enough money in the budget to accommodate a roads expansion and a rail link project. However, some people disagree with that after the government sold the Port of Melbourne for a record $9.7 billion. The sale generated far more money than expected, which is money that could be allocated to the rail link project.

Think outside the box a Melbourne Airport Monorail

The bold plan to build a $1 billion monorail high above the Tullamarine Freeway is one proposal being developed by tourism infrastructure entrepreneur Peter O’Brien, who describes it as a hi-tech alternative to a slow diesel train link that could take years to come online.

Themonorail would be above major roads including CityLink and the Tullamarine Freeway and would connect with either Southern Cross Station or Flinders St Station.

“The whole problem with heavy rail is you have to buy the land from the public and that’s expensive and takes years” Mr O’Brien said. “Newly proven technology means we can now follow the established use of airspace in the northern hemisphere without building huge concrete edifices.”

Many Melbournrnians have been quick to draw comparisons to The Simpsons, in which Springfield was duped into building a Monorail by Lyle Lanley’s.

What Does the Future Hold for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link?

Just because the Melbourne Airport Rail Link isn’t being built now, doesn’t mean it won’t be built at all. While discussing the airport rail station during the press conference, the Roads Minister indicated that there are still plans to build a rail station – just not in the immediate future.

At the moment, there is no ETA as to when the airport rail link project would even be started or even considered. In the past, there was a proposed plan to start building a rail link and have it up and operational by 2026. Unfortunately, new changes in government leaders resulted in that plan being tossed out and a new play – one that favoured the road expansion – was put into place.

While many people are hoping for a faster way to get to the airport, they will just have to wait a little bit longer. The Melbourne Airport Rail Link may happen in the future, but right now, the focus is on roads and expansions, which is great news for those needing offsite Melbourne airport parking.

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