State budget 2017

So here we are, state budget day 2017.

A lot of things have already been announced, but they usually leave a few things until the day itself. Nobody was expecting anything huge, as logic would suggest they’d save their money until next year, when there’s an election and they need to dazzle people a bit more. But they might push along with some infrastructure projects that can be under construction by election day in November 2018.

Below I’ve tried to summarise what’s being funded…

Public transport stuff

Night Network made permanent $193m

8 more level crossing removals brought forward (from the list of 50 over 8 years, not a new bunch of 8)

Station upgrades and car parking $9m – it doesn’t go into much detail

Accessibility upgrades at Oakleigh station (regraded ramps and a lift) and Middle Park tram stop (not actually sure which one) converted to an “Easy Access” stop $11m

Extra stabling at Mernda, and land at Broadmeadows for rail power upgrades $11m

10 more E-class trams $218m – at that price, must include additional upgrades for power, stabling?

More train/tram/bus services $62.5m – Werribee an extra 8 services, St Kilda Road tram shuttle (countering the recent removal of route 8?!), additional services for routes 57, 58, 59, extra 401 Parkville shuttle bus services to help during metro tunnel construction. Bus upgrades in middle and outer suburbs (Bentleigh, Frankston, Mordialloc, Narre Warren, Craigieburn, Sunbury and Broadmeadows… hmm, three marginal Frankston line seats, I see).

“Keeping Melbourne Moving” transport network impact management plan $15m

Train stabling at Kananook $187m

Station improvements at Flinders Street, Southern Cross and Richmond $9m. Not sure why this wasn’t included in the funding for Flinders Street refurbishment.

Hurstbridge line upgrade planning $5m

Fix platform gaps, and more TWPS to improve safety $67m

100 new PSOs, and it sounds like they’ll be used for mobile patrols. On trains perhaps?

Extra buses to Fishermans Bend (routes 235 and 237) in peak hour $2m — badly needed, as crowding has reached critical levels

Regional

Another 39 V/Locity carriages, and for design work to boost capacity and improve amenity in the V/Locity fleet $311m

Regional/VLine maintenance $316m

Seymour and Shepparton area extra coach and train services $43m

Extra buses for Bellarine, Ballarat, Wallan $4m

Gippsland line upgrades $435m* including some duplication to allow more services

Warrnambool line upgrade $100m*

Surf Coast Railway and Geelong line duplication works $110m* – prepare the corridor and reserve the land, but not actually build anything, it seems?

Bendigo/Echuca upgrades for faster trains and an extra daily service to Echuca, as well as more services to Epsom and Eaglehawk $91m*

Ballarat line $39m* for stage 2 of the upgrade package for trains to Ararat and Maryborough (eg after the stage 1 upgrade, which includes duplication to Melton)

North-east line: upgrades for Donnybrook and Wallan stations and corridor changes to prepare for future standard gauge V/Locity services*

Ballarat station bus interchange $5m

*All these seem to be dependent on Federal funding as part of the asset recycling scheme

Meanwhile on the roads

North East Link $100m planning and preconstruction works funding, but basically locking the project in to happen after 2018.

Mordialloc Bypass $300m, connecting the Dingley Bypass (only recently opened, and already causing increased traffic on South Road) with the Mornington Peninsula Freeway

Yet more ring road upgrades $700m

Monash freeway planning for yet another upgrade $5m

…and a bunch of other stuff, including upgrades in regional Victoria.

Reaction

Did I miss anything major? Leave a comment.

I’ll read through the numerous press releases and Budget Papers as I get time. There’s usually some interesting stuff on the latest patronage figures.

Overall, even if you leave out the rail upgrades to be funded by the Feds (if they agree to it), there’s plenty there for trains, underscoring their role as the backbone of the public transport network. Some upgrades for trams too. A few upgrades for the bus network, but not a huge amount.

And the question always must be: are they doing enough for public transport to keep up with population growth? And how much are they undermining it by building new motorways?

Here’s the full stakeholder post-budget press conference, courtesy of VCOSS (PTUA’s Tony Morton is on at about the 15 minute mark):

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15 Replies to “State budget 2017”

  1. No sign of any bus upgrades on the Mornington Peninsula in today’s state budget, despite the Portsea 788 bus regularly running to capacity.

  2. Apart from a few Werribee services, train frequency improvements. Even the Liberals are talking about it, but it apparently doesn’t rate attention from Labor? Have they completely abandoned the idea of improving frequency, especially off peak and evening?

    I also thought they had some kind of big plan to overhaul buses, and look at extending Smartbus services, but doesn’t seem to be any word on that front.

    I like some of the infrastructure plans, but if they flat out refuse to improve services, don’t see what the point is.

  3. I’m curious about the St Kilda Rd shuttle tram services as its the first I’ve heard of them. As I understand it, during the peaks all available trams are already being used to run the current timetable. Do you have any more details Daniel?

  4. Yes, I agree there isn’t enough investment in the transport for the ongoing population. Good investments in Regional Rail (if they come to an agreement), and a small step into improving some train, bus and tram services. But it is quite little investment if you compare with the road investment in this budget, North East Link, more ring road upgrades, Mordialloc bypass, Outer surburban roads package and many more. As well said, hopefully more investments will happen in the budget before the election. Even more train, bus and tram services, including testing priority lighting and dedicated lanes for trams and buses and planning/funding for the Cranbourne duplication/extension would be more than welcome in the next budget.

    Ps; that is too optimistic, probably be spent on more roads.

  5. @ozzmosis, yeah they’re going to have to look at bus 788. Every 40 minutes and packed, it’s an embarassment. Building the Mordialloc Bypass helps more people drive to/from the Peninsula, while the only major bus route is hopeless.

    @Campbell, good point. We should be concerned that a handful of extra Werribee services are even worth highlighting like this in the Budget. That’s the sort of incremental improvement that should be added regularly as the new trains are delivered.

    @Stacy, possibly the St Kilda Road shuttle is a stopgap measure until enough larger trams are on the existing St Kilda Road routes. Certainly it’s the type of route that would disappear once the rail tunnel opens. But I wonder what impact it will have on operations if trams have to shunt/reverse somewhere amongst all the other trams in the corridor.

  6. I was wondering if the 8 new Werribee services were referring to trains or bus services. Budget paper says 8 additional Werribee train services in the “shoulder peak”.

    I would be interested to know what the bus upgrades and new services are in detail.

  7. Press release today, further detail for shepparton-
    a) crossing loop near Murchison East
    I’ve been saying this is necessary for years. My solution was to have a 3km long loop immediately south of the station, with a parallel road on the east side of the track which means you can safely eliminate the intermediate level crossing. Just need to make sure the loop has 80 km/h turnouts both ends, and that should permit hourly Shepparton services if necessary.

    b) 39x VLocity carriages are for that service
    Could be 13x3VL, or intermediate carriages for about half the existing fleet leaving a mix of 3- and 4-car sets. Either way works, though the latter probably makes more sense.

  8. This is not the Election year, but next year sure is. The rumor before the budget release was, they would be a little bit restrained this year, so they can save the cash for a major and large budget to be released next year.

    I do agree that, I would value an expansion of the SmartBus network.

    Rail Futures Institute, of which I am now a member of, are pushing for there to be four-car V/locity sets. This is to permit the operation of 8 car trains on the Geelong line. That is an additional two cars on all existing trains.

    RFI had a look into going for 9 cars, just have a tripple consist of an existing 3-car set, except that most of the line is currently set up to handle 8 cars, including platforms and track circuits etc. To handle that ninth car, you need major works to extend platforms and etc. But, 8 cars can be done, and avoid all of that.

    It is quite possible that, the 39 cars, can all be fourth cars for existing trainsets.

  9. Daniel, there appears to be very little in the way of cycling infrastructure in this budget release… disappointing

  10. It’ll be interesting to see what they do at Oakleigh station with “a lift”. The two main platforms are accessed from a tunnel; from either side you need to walk down a ramp from street level to the tunnel, along the tunnel, then up a ramp to the platform. If they put in “a lift” which of the three ramps will it avoid, and how will those who need the lift negotiate the other two ramps?

  11. @Adrian – I suspect it will be link Blackburn, with a lift to the island platform, and longer ramps retrofitted to the street exits on either side.

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