FRANKSTON’S transport problems have been listed on Infrastructure Australia’s latest register of national priority projects.
The initiative – one of 147 listed as nationally significant – covers the long-awaited 5km rail upgrade to Langwarrin.
Listed as “Frankston public transport connectivity”, it is one of only six Victorian projects in the near-term (0–5 years) category.
The other five are Melbourne level crossing removals, currently underway; Melbourne Airport’s third runway, due to open in 2025; Eastern Freeway–CityLink connection; initiatives to improve cycling in Melbourne’s CBD; and reserving a corridor for the Outer Metropolitan Ring Road.
Committee for Greater Frankston CEO Ginevra Hosking, who prepared much of the documentation to support the listing, said it was “fantastic news and proof that solving the region’s lack of public transport is a state and nationally important project, one that’s vital to unleash the potential of our region”. She said the urgency of Frankston’s transport problem had been recognised in Infrastructure Australia’s near-term (0–5 year) category. “Other well-known rail extension projects on the Cranbourne, Hurstbridge and Melton lines are listed as medium-term initiatives.”
The Infrastructure Australia (IA) list identifies “problems or opportunities of national significance”. It says that options to address a lack of public transport connectivity in the municipality and surrounds could be solved by “upgrading rail services and infrastructure, optimising the existing bus network, and increasing bus service frequency and coverage”.
The listing follows a community-led submission to IA by Committee for Greater Frankston, an independent advocacy group. Submissions are usually made by governments or private sector proponents. “Our submission detailed how the rail extension would become the backbone of a revitalised transport system to benefit 400,000 residents, a population comparable to Canberra’s,” Ms Hosking said. The committee’s submission contained details about the rail extension benefits.
They included: transforming public transport in the region, driving job creation, getting cars off congested roads, freeing up Frankston CBD car parks, making better use of public and private assets like Frankston Hospital and Monash University, and connecting Mornington Peninsula Shire’s 165,000 population to the metropolitan rail network.
The growing health, research and education precinct just east of Frankston’s CBD would greatly benefit. The precinct now accommodates more than 4500 Monash University students (with the current blueprint planning for 16,000 students), 6500 TAFE students, 4200 hospital staff and 6000 daily hospital visitations. After a four-stage redevelopment, Chisholm TAFE will be the state’s largest.
The new line would connect 37,500 residents of suburbs in Frankston’s east and provide six times more Monash students with access to their campus within 50 minutes’ travelling time.
National media coverage
JUST IN: Frankston’s public transport problems could soon be defused and the train line extended for five kilometres after a push to fix the issue landed on the country’s list of urgent transport projects. The proposal includes an extension to Baxter which would connect more than 165,000 people from the Mornington Peninsula to Melbourne’s rail network.
Frankston Standard 26 February 2020 Britt Goldsmith Frankston’s troubled public transport system crisis added to listed as an urgent project
Herald Sun 26 February 2020 Infrastructure Australia backs Melbourne cycling superhighway plan
It was one of two just two new Victorian programs on the list, along with a plan to reform the public transport system around Frankston.
ABC 26 February 2020 Infrastructure Australia backs ‘cycling superhighways’ proposal for Melbourne suburbs
Also on IA’s list is a proposal to improve transport connectivity for the 140,000 people living in the outer south-eastern suburb of Frankston.
Guardian 26 February 2020 Environmental concerns get top billing in Infrastructure Australia priority list for first time
In Victoria: Cycling access to Melbourne CBD; and Frankston public transport connectivity
Financial Times 26 February 2020