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Changing people movement in North East Victoria

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Transport Minister Peter Batchelor today said a massive State Government injection into transport infrastructure would change the way people moved around North Eastern Victoria.

Mr Batchelor said 58 new transport projects in the region totalling more than $34 million would lead to better roads, better public transport services, and more convenient transport options.

The projects are funded through the annual State Budget and the recently announced Meeting our Transport Challenges $10.5 billion transport action plan.

“The Bracks Government has undertaken the biggest-ever upgrade of Victoria’s regional rail network,” Mr Batchelor said.

“We intend to continue investing in regional Victoria to make places like Seymour, King Valley, Shepparton and Wodonga even better places to live, work and raise a family.”

Mr Batchelor said strong population and economic growth was creating greater demand for transport services, and placing more pressure on the road network.

“By 2031, provincial Victoria is expected to grow by more than 350,000 people – more than the current combined populations of Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong.

“The Government has already made significant investments in transport infrastructure across provincial Victoria to ensure people continue to want to live, work and invest in our regions,” he said.

“The challenge ahead is to cater for the growing demand of those needing to travel to work and other activities within provincial centres or from outlying towns, as well as those travelling to jobs in Melbourne.

“The package of works this Government will deliver over the financial next year covers a wide range of transport initiatives – from upgraded school bus stops to multi-million dollar road projects.”

Mr Batchelor said $4.5 million in public transport projects in North Eastern Victoria for this financial year include:

· Completion of the Moving Forward bus program which includes delivery of a new bus service between the Cheshunt and Wangaratta and Town Bus Network upgrades at Shepparton, Wallan & Wangaratta;
· $770,000 for improvements to School Bus Interchanges at Mooroopna, Tallangatta, Rutherglen & Wodonga under the Rural School Bus Safety Program; and
· Improved Bus Infrastructure facilities at Benalla, Kilmore, Seymour, Shepparton, Wallan, Wangaratta & Wodonga.

Mr Batchelor said the VicRoads budget for 2006-07 also featured $30.48 million for roads projects in North Eastern Victoria, including:

• $3.38 million for new improvement projects, including:
• Intersection safety improvements on Mt Buller Rd & Mansfield – Woods Point Road, near Mansfield ($722,000)
• Run off road safety improvements on Wodonga – Yackandandah Road ($465,000), Beechworth – Wangaratta Road ($2.8 million) and Whittlesea – Yea Road ($1.23 million)
• Bridge improvement works ($255,000)
• $4.8 million this year for 18 road safety projects under the Safer Roads Program;
• $22.3 million for general road maintenance to ensure the infrastructure is able to meet demands for years to come; and
• $255,000 distributed to municipalities in school crossing subsidies.

Other important projects that have already commenced include:

• Safety improvements to the Peter Ross Edwards Causeway ($10 million)
• the $500 million Albury Wodonga Hume Freeway Project
• Run off road safety improvements on the Hume Freeway ($988,000)

“These investments are laying the foundations for a better way of life for people in North Eastern Victoria,” Mr Batchelor said.

“These projects, combined with the effect of the new extended V/Line timetable and completed road projects such as new Traffic Signal Linking in Shepparton ($165,000) and the rehabilitation of the Murchison Bridge ($1.4 million), you can see that north eastern Victoria is powering ahead.”

Mr Batchelor said $18.3 million would also be spent over the next three years around the State helping Victorian communities get the most out of existing community transport services.

“The program will support up to 30 local councils and will help communities coordinate the use of available resources, such as public transport, school buses, and volunteer drivers.”

Written by Greg Naylor

30 August 2006 at 8:41 pm

Posted in media release

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