Melbourne doesn't just need the North East Link freeway, it also needs the axed East West Link, Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy says.
Labor has promised to build a $10 billion freeway tunnel through the city’s northeast if it wins the 2018 state election, but Mr Guy went one further.
“We’ve already said we believe the North East Link should be built,” Mr Guy told reporters on Monday.
He said the coalition was looking at its road funding options for both the North East Link and the East West Link, which Labor paid $1.2 billion to axe.
“They serve different purposes and they are going to achieve different things,” Mr Guy said.
“They both need to be built, that’s obvious… that’s why Melbourne doesn’t have an option about saying do this one and not this one.”
Mr Guy said both roads would need to have tolls on them, but cautioned that the North East Link would come at a huge cost.
“It is a big project, it’s bigger than East West Link, and will cost more than East West Link, and there’s no guarantee of the return,” he said.
The so-called “missing link” will complete the Metropolitan Ring Road by connecting the ring road to either the Eastern Freeway or EastLink.
The government will spend $35 million on planning, route selection and environmental impact studies in 2017.
Tenders will go out in 2018, but the Andrews government won’t sign any contracts before the state election, with construction to start in 2019 if Labor wins.
All points of the compass will be joined up properly by building a piece of road that’s been talked about for the best part of 50 years, Mr Andrews told reporters on Sunday.
The RACV backed Sunday’s announcement, as did the Victorian Transport Association and the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Labor scrapped the former coalition government’s plans to build the controversial East West Link tunnel under the city’s inner north after it won the 2014 election.
Ripping up the contract signed in the last days of Denis Napthine’s government has cost Victorian taxpayers $1.2 billion to date.