ARA welcome COVID-19 rail recovery commitment

The ARA have welcomed the Victorian Budget which delivers significant funding to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the rail network.

ARA Covid

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has welcomed funding commitments to support greater use of rail, including $866.3 million to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the transport network. The Victorian Budget has delivered significant funding for rail projects around the state, highlighting how vital rail infrastructure is to Victoria’s growth.

Rail patronage had been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions and bringing people back to the rail network would be an essential part of Victoria’s post pandemic recovery.

“It is essential that people return to public transport to keep Victoria moving efficiently and to support its sustainable growth over time,” Caroline Wilkie, Chief Executive Officer for the ARA, said. “Additional measures to address COVID-19 impacts will ensure the industry can continue to make customers’ experience a great one when they do return to public transport as a more normal way of life resumes.”

The ARA also welcomed $338.1 million for additional services and to operate new transport infrastructure being delivered as part of $90 billion Victoria’s Bid Build programme.  The programme provides an incredible opportunity to create greater access to public transport and enhanced social outcomes for Victorians.

The budget also confirmed an additional $265 million will be invested into the state’s unprecedented pipeline of locally manufactured trains and trams, including 12 new VLocity trains for the regional rail network. There was also a welcomed $181 million to maintain rail freight lines in Victoria, as the state prepares for a tripling of freight volumes by 2051, as well as $3.5 million to extend the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme.

“The ARA welcomes such a strong investment in rail, which recognises the significant capability that exists within our industry,” Wilkie continued. “It is good to see the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme will be continued for another year to support greater use of rail freight.”