No East West Link, doubts on Kooyong level crossing removal, Labor says

«For every dollar that was allocated to this road, it lost between 40 and 50 cents.»

If the East West Link was built now it would put huge pressure on the existing pipeline of infrastructure projects, Ms Allan said.

She also argued the $4 billion offered up by the Coalition «falls far short» of the project’s true cost.

But federal MP Alan Tudge, who served as Minister for Urban Infrastructure prior to the election, told radio station 3AW that $4 billion set aside for the project covers the full cost and all the state government has to do is «green light it».

«The state government doesn’t have to put in a cent,» he said. «We’ve got the money on the table, the road has to be built.»

In the lead up to the federal election, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg promised $260 million to remove a level crossing on Glenferrie Road, by lowering the train tracks underground.

The level crossing sits in the electorate of Higgins, which is next to Mr Frydenberg’s own seat of Kooyong.

The state government has already promised to remove 75 level crossings by 2025.

This includes plans to replace the level crossing on Toorak Road in Kooyong with sky rail, less than one kilometre from Glenferrie Road.

The state government's proposal for Toorak Road sky rail in Kooyong, about a kilometre away from Glenferrie Road.

The state government’s proposal for Toorak Road sky rail in Kooyong, about a kilometre away from Glenferrie Road.

On Sunday, the Premier said he was willing to work with the Morrison government on the proposed level crossing removal, but Ms Allan warned the design «ignores a whole lot of issues like flooding and groundwater issues».

She said the federal government promised the level crossing removal without consulting the state government or engineers.

And she maintains the federal government is $100 million short, although other level crossing removals where the rail line has been lowered have cost less than $250 million.

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan with Premier Daniel Andrews.

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan with Premier Daniel Andrews.Credit:Eddie Jim

It comes a week ahead of the release of the state budget, which the Andrews government decided to postpone until after the federal election.

It was expected that a Labor win would swell the budget’s bottom line.

But the government will now be forced to do without the $10 billion that the former Labor leader Bill Shorten promised for the suburban rail loop over a 15 year period.

The proposed suburban rail loop would intersect with 10 other rail lines.

The proposed suburban rail loop would intersect with 10 other rail lines.Credit:The Age

However, the government is set to gain from other major federal contributions — $1.75 million for the $15.8 billion North East Link and $5 billion towards the $13 billion airport rail line.

Ms Allan said the budget would still deliver a surplus on Monday, but conceded that the election result could «have an implication going forward in the budget».

«The election outcome on the weekend doesn’t change Victoria’s budget, it will be a budget that will be in surplus,» she said.

«When the federal government deliver their budget, at that time there may be an impact on our budget, we’ll have to review that, we’ll have to see how they phase the delivery of various commitments.»

The Morrison government also promised a $500 billion commuter car parking fund before the election.

Ms Allan said she was open to the policy — which adds to the 11,000 new car parking already promised by state Labor — but there were «some question marks over — again — what’s being committed, and whether it can be delivered».

Mr Morrison has also promised $2 billion to build fast rail to Geelong and called on the state government to stump up an equal sum.

State opposition leader Michael O’Brien questioned why there was a need to delay the budget.

«Daniel Andrews is responsible for his own budget, he can’t blame the federal government for his spending,» the Liberal leader said.

«We’re hearing rumours of significant budget blowouts on infrastructure projects.»

Timna Jacks is Transport Reporter at The Age

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