Victorian premier Daniel Andrews took to Twitter this morning to extol the virtues of Transurban’s $5.5 billion Western Distributor Project, which includes widening Monash Freeway and an alternative crossing to the West Gate Bridge.
Here’s his post on how a second major crossing over the Maribyrnong River will look. The government says it will take around 6000 trucks a day off the West Gate Bridge and local streets.
— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) May 10, 2016
The project was submitted to the government by Transurban, which also operates Citylink, in March last year and announced shortly after Andrews cancelled the controversial $10 billion East West Link toll road.
But this week The Age reports a Kennett-era compensation clause is threatening the project.
The Material Adverse Effects (MAE) clause is part of the CityLink deal, but Fairfax says the government is pushing to have it dropped from the Western Distributor contract.
The clause means Victorian taxpayers could pay compensation to Transurban if other infrastructure is built that draws business away from the Western Distributor’s 5km toll road. Critics argue the clause in the CityLink contract has stifled infrastructure development around Melbourne and 15 years ago, Transurban launched a failed legal action against the government over the 1.9km Wurundjeri Way road Docklands Development, claiming it was competing with CityLink.
The Western Distributor toll road is likely to cost motorists $3 and trucks $13 and the government is currently looking at extending the CityLink tolls for another decade.
Victorian taxpayers will contribute around $1.46 billion towards the Western Distributor project.
Fairfax has more details here.
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