The approval of works for the North East rail line, after 18 months of planning, has been described as a “milestone” moment.
Border Rail Action Group member John Dunstan was feeling positive following Thursday’s announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.
He was also part of a detailled briefing on the scope of works from the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
“We’re very happy, we see this as a milestone after the initial announcement,” Mr Dunstan said.
He said only $30 million of the $235 million total would be spent on removing mudholes with an undercutter, but was hoping the federal government would provide a little more money along the way so geofrabric could be installed to prevent the troublesome mudholes coming back.
The Victorian Opposition last week made a $19 billion election promise to build a rail link for high-speed trains, but Mr Dunstan said it was important to upgrade the track to class 2 now rather than wait even longer for the possibility of a class 1 track.
BRAG and North East councils are part of the Hume Corridor Passenger Rail Collaboration, which also welcomed the upgrades.
Chair of the group, Wodonga mayor Anna Speedie, said she was pleased to see the ARTC commit to keep communities informed throughout the project.
“Our communities can expect to see pop-ups at the train stations and events from the end of this month that will provide them with information about the project,” she said.
“In addition there will be a dedicated project website and fact sheets as well as a commitment to keep this group informed of their progress.
“Our rail line will be the focus of significant upgrade works with the line upgrade as well as the inland rail project and all these agencies are co-ordinating their efforts for the best outcome for our communities.”
Cr Speedie made a point to thank Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan for her work in the project, after she was notably absent from Thursday’s announcement by federal and state Coalition MPs.
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