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Operators win in Victorian Budget

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed several initiatives outlined by Treasurer Tim Pallas in his third State Budget that will help freight operators under pressure from expanding road user charges and shrinking margins to realise productivity gains, and experience greater success.
Chief among these, according to VTA CEO Peter Anderson are $556 million for improvements to Victoria’s regional road network, including $41 million to upgrade 17 bridges on freight routes to handle High-Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFVs); a $1.45 billion Regional Rail Revival package to upgrade rail networks in Gippsland, Central Victoria, the Surf Coast and the state’s south west; $700 million over four years to upgrade the M80 Ring Road; $556 million for improvements to Victoria’s regional road network, including $41 million to upgrade 17 bridges on freight routes to handle High-Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFV’s); a $300 million commitment to connect the Mornington Peninsula Freeway with the Dingley Bypass via a new Mordialloc Bypass; a $100 million commitment to fund planning and pre-construction activities for the much-needed completion of the M80 Ring Road via the North East Link; and $58 million for vital maintenance on the West Gate Bridge.
“All up, the Budget contains close to $2 billion for new construction and upgrades to Victoria’s road network, which is vital for the freight industry to move goods and keep the economy ticking over,” said Anderson.
“Payroll tax relief for SMEs in regional Victoria will encourage significant investments in those businesses, and generate jobs and growth.
“The $100 million investment in pre-construction and planning for the North East Link is welcome news, and comes after 18 months of concerted lobbying by the VTA and business and road user groups for a commitment to the connection with serious funding.”
Anderson added that the Regional Rail Revival package outlined in the Budget is a vital part of a suite of initiatives either planned or under construction to reduce congestion on roads throughout the state, by offering alternatives to passenger vehicle use and freeing up the road network for freight movements.
With the project contingent on federal funding, however, the VTA has encouraged the Victorian and Commonwealth governments to set aside their political differences and reach an urgent agreement on Victorian infrastructure funding, which continues to significantly lag behind other states.
Road congestion and inadequate road and rail infrastructure remain the number one impediment to better productivity among freight operators.
“The State Budget handed down today contains much for the industry to be encouraged about, and we thank the Government for listening to our concerns,” he said.
 

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