Daniel Andrews has dodged more than a dozen questions on the cost of the mammoth Suburban Rail Loop project just days before Victoria’s election.
Mr Andrews fronted reporters on Wednesday when he was forced to defend the record-breaking project, saying it’s needed to cement Melbounrne’s long term transport future.
The loop was originally estimated to cost $44 billion but a recent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report blew this figure out to $125 billion.
“Nothing ever gets cheaper, it always costs more,” Mr Andrews said.
“They’ve been appropriately costed, they’ve been fully funded. And we’re getting them built and they’re underway.
“We have provided all the documentation for the stages that we are proud to put forward and that we are building.”
Mr Andrews referred to past transport projects when asked about why his government wouldn’t put a definite figure on the loop’s cost.
“This is a bit like criticising Dick Hamer for not costing out Metro Tunnel when he built City Loop,” he said.
“The subsequent stages of this will be for governments in the very late 2030s, the 2040s and the 2050s.”
In total, Mr Andrews fielded 20 questions on the divisive project.
The Suburban Rail Loop is aimed to result in a three-stage underground loop which will run for more than 90km between Cheltenham and Werribee via Melbourne Airport.
Estimates by the PBO predict the first stage of the project, stretching from Cheltenham to Box Hill, will cost $33bn.
Construction on the hefty initial stage began in June this year and is expected to be completed in 2035.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy announced in August he would shelve the project if elected in November.
More than $11.8bn has already been set aside by the Victorian government to deliver the loop, including $2.2bn for early works.
Story Credit: news.com.au