Infrastructure Victoria’s blueprint for the state’s development in the next 30 years has backed away from supporting an immediate extension of the Frankston train line to fix public transport connectivity to and through Frankston, says Committee for Greater Frankston CEO Ginevra Hosking. “Frankston’s residents have been thrown under a bus,” Ms Hosking said. “Commonwealth money is on the table to build the Frankston extension today, yet the state recommends even more studies.”
Ms Hosking said the draft blueprint released last December called for construction of the rail extension to start in the next five years. “The final report is saying another five years is needed for feasibility studies but in the meantime ‘next generation’ buses will do. It’s again kicking the can down the road. The public benefits of the rail extension have been well documented, widely circulated in the community, and strongly supported by our region’s major organisations. Ongoing delays like this place the $225 million funding for the extension in jeopardy.”
Ms Hosking said the blueprint called for better bus connections to Frankston’s CBD, railway station, Chisholm TAFE and Frankston Hospital but was silent about how students get to Monash University’s Peninsula campus. “Providing a metro-standard train service to the campus is one of the compelling reasons for the long-awaited rail extension. A station near Monash would enable six times as many students to access the campus by rail.
“The report recognised that Frankston’s multi-modal transit interchange – situated right in the middle of the CBD – is unable to handle high traffic volumes and needs upgrading, so how will sending more buses there solve our problems? Frankston CBD already has inadequate affordable parking – ours is some of the most expensive in the state – and street congestion hampers our city’s economy, yet this report recommends the State Government introduce new paid parking charges rather than extending the Frankston line to a purpose-built commuter park and ride away from our city centre. We need the rail extension to Langwarrin at a minimum where there is land suitable for up to 5000 commuter cars. Moving cars outside the city centre is the permanent solution to Frankston’s traffic and parking congestion.”
Ms Hosking reserved some praise for the report. “One positive is the blueprint sensibly says land needed for future rail corridors and station infrastructure should be acquired by the state now before it is built on. We have advocated that this occur in Langwarrin for four years. And it broadly acknowledges that outer suburban areas such as Frankston have underdeveloped transport networks and that limited transport choices force commuters to rely on cars, causing more congestion and compromising access to jobs, education, services and social connections. It anticipates that outer suburban public transport demand will soar by 65 per cent in coming decades.”