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North-East Link: Victorian Government fast-tracks $100m for Metropolitan Ring Road planning

08 May, 17

Next week's Victorian budget will include $100 million to start work on what has been dubbed the state's highest-priority road project, the so-called missing link in Melbourne's Metropolitan Ring Road.

The $10 billion North-East Link will connect the ring road at Greensborough with either the Eastern Freeway or EastLink.

The Andrews Government had previously committed to a business case for the project, but is fast-tracking funding to complete planning and engineering work before the 2018 election.

Infrastructure Victoria has identified the North-East Link as the state's highest priority road project.

"This is all the money that's needed to get all of that important work done so that contracts can be signed in 2019," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"We think it's appropriate to take this back to the Victorian people and ask them for a mandate to get on and build it, but I think this project stacks up."

Mr Andrews said the road would be used by an estimated 100,000 vehicles a day.

"It'll be a busy road, absolutely, because it's the road people want to use," he said.

"It should have been built many years ago."

Mr Andrews said the road would be tolled and would require funding from both state and federal governments, but the exact funding mix would be determined by the business case.

"I'd be confident that a federal government in the future would be only too happy to be a partner in this," he said.

There has been tension between the state and its federal counterparts, with the Andrews Government saying Victoria had been short-changed when it comes to infrastructure funding.

'This road must be built'

The Premier said the alignment of the North East Link, and whether it connects to the Eastern Freeway or Eastlink, would be determined before the election.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy supports the project in principle but has criticised the lack of detail from the Government.

"Daniel Andrews has about the lowest level of credibility when it comes to building freeways in Victoria, for any premier in our history," he said.

"He's the guy who spent $1.5 billion not to build the East West Link.

"Now he says low and behold, 'trust me, I'm going to build another one'."

RACV policy manager Brian Negus said the North East Link had been the group's number one road priority for many years.

"This is a road that must be built," he said.

"It's a matter of actually making sure the work that is done, delivers on what are the options and comes up with the best solution.

"We'd be confident that no matter who wins the next election, that this project will proceed."

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