Careful commonwealth investment in public transport will reduce Melbourne’s worsening traffic congestion and give residents relief from ever-lengthening daily trips to and from work.

Today I again visited Wyndham Vale train station, one of two new stations being delivered a part of the $4 billion Regional Rail Link.

This is a visionary Labor government-funded project that will boost productivity and ease congestion on Victorian roads

The project was funded in part by $3.225 billion provided by the former Labor Government – the biggest commonwealth investment in any public transport project in the nation’s history.

It will separate suburban railway services from regional services heading to and from the city from Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong.

By untangling these regional and suburban lines, Regional Rail will speed up travel for passengers on both, creating capacity for an extra 54,000 passenger journeys a day when it begins services next April.

In addition to employing at least 15,000 Victorians since construction commenced in 2010, Regional Rail will deliver real productivity gains for the Victorian economy by reducing congestion.

It’s a reminder that if we want successful cities that are productive, sustainable and liveable, we need to invest in properly integrated transport systems that involve roads, rail and light rail.

Regional Rail would not have happened if the former Labor Government not been prepared to invest in public transport.

It also highlights the folly of the current Abbott Government’s refusal to invest in public transport, including the Melbourne Metro project, which would have delivered further productivity and lifestyle gains for Victorians.

The withdrawal of the commonwealth contribution has led to a scaling down of the project to the extent that it will not even pass through Melbourne’s central business district.

Instead, the Abbott Government has provided a $1.5 billion advance payment to the Napthine Government for the East-West Link road project, despite having no cost-benefit analysis to establish whether it represents value for the taxpayer dollar.

Labor is committed to working with other levels of government, the private sector and the community to deliver more productive sustainable and liveable cities.

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