| 21.11,18. 01:41 PM |
Melbourne Airport rail link to go via Sunshine after getting approval from Canberra
Photo: The $15 billion proposal would include a new underground train station at the airport. (Supplied)
The Sunshine train station in Melbourne's west will become like "another Southern Cross station", with the Federal Government ticking off on the proposed route for the long-awaited rail link to Melbourne Airport.
The new service could be up and running within nine years under plans unveiled by AirRail Melbourne, a private consortium that includes Melbourne Airport and Metro Trains.
The project would be built in six or seven years, starting in late 2020 and opening a year after Melbourne Metro opens in 2027.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the State Government had been doing a lot of work with the Federal Government on the best way to deliver the new rail link, which would provide the "most connections" for Victorians.
"The Andrews Labor Government has always backed the Sunshine route as the preferred route and we now welcome the Morrison Government coming onboard and confirming its support for this project and for this route," Ms Allan said.
Under the proposal, the consortium, the Victorian Government and the Federal Government would provide funding of $5 billion each.
The project would include 27 kilometres of new track to be built between Southern Cross in the CBD via the "super hub" at Sunshine and on to the airport.
'Time to get on with it'
There will also be twin tunnels between Southern Cross and Sunshine and a new underground rail station at the airport.
"There will need to be a significant redevelopment of the Sunshine area," Ms Allan said.
"It will, if you like, become another Southern Cross station where regional and metropolitan trains come together and can connect in to Melbourne's airport."
Ms Allan said the key to getting the project up and running as soon as possible was to finish work on the Metro tunnel, which was well underway.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said he was convinced the Sunshine route was the best option for the airport rail link.
"Now there is a route that all of us agree with, and I think that's really sensible, it's straightforward … everyone is committed now to the same route — it's time to get on with it," he said.
"Whomever wins this election, the project's going to continue.
"It is now time to move on with the project."