THE Liberal Nationals have quickened the pace for Geelong’s commuters ahead of November’s state election, promising travel times to Melbourne of 32 minutes if their party forms government.
Last week, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy announced the High Speed Rail project, which would create services travelling at 200kmh not only between Geelong and Melbourne by 2022, but also between all of Victoria’s regional centres.
Travel times between Warrnambool and Melbourne of 3 hours and 25 minutes would be cut to 1 hour and 52 minutes.
The High Speed Rail project will rebuild much of Victoria’s existing Class 1 track to facilitate operating at higher speeds, as well as major track improvements on the other passenger rail lines.
The Liberal Nationals have promised they will not introduce a new tax or levy to fund the High Speed Rail project which they estimate will cost between $15 billion to $19 billion and create at least 10,000 new jobs.
“I want to build a state of cities, not a city state but to do that we must build European-style High Speed Rail,” Mr Guy said.
South Barwon MP and Shadow Assistant Minister for Geelong Andrew Katos said the project would be a “game changer” and bring more employers to the area and create more employment opportunities as well as give people more lifestyle choices.
The Liberal Nationals’ pledge came a week after Labor announced the opening of expressions of interest for a reference group on its Geelong Fast Rail project.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said details were thin on the Liberals’ plan, and that achieving Geelong to Melbourne in 32 minutes would take seven years, not four.
“Mr Guy’s rail plan has more holes than Swiss cheese and with a history of cuts and closures, regional Victorians are right to be doubtful.”