Victoria’s coalition government has pledged to commit funding to the first stage of the East West Link, a project designed to ease congestion issues across Melbourne and expected to involve a capital cost of between A$6 billion (€4.6 billion; $5.9 billion) and A$8 billion.
However, the government added that it will undertake an expressions of interest (EOI) process later this year to deliver the project under a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, “with a view to awarding a contract in late 2014”.
“There is a clear role for the private sector in delivering this project,” said Michael O’Brien, Victoria’s Treasurer in a statement.
The state government is also calling for the national government to come to the table. “It is also time that the Commonwealth government committed its fair share to this vital Victorian infrastructure project,” added O’Brien, indicating that he expected a A$1.5 billion contribution.
The first stage of the project is the six-kilometre eastern section of the Link, which covers 18 kilometres overall. The statutory planning process for stage one is now underway and the project is expected to go to market for procurement by late 2013.
Construction of the project is expected to begin in late 2014 and a construction period of around five years is anticipated.
The statement said that toll revenues would be expected to partly offset the costs of the project over the longer term.