The Victorian Government has released the project proponents for a series of massive infrastructure projects in Melbourne, which it says will transform travel around the city.

State Minister for Roads, Terry Mulder, said that the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel and East West road link were a priority for the Government in catering for future population and economic growth.

"These major infrastructure projects are essential to our economic future and liveability. We are focused on implementing a diligent assessment and planning process to make them a reality,” Mr Mulder said

“Declaring the Department of Transport as project proponent for Melbourne Metro and Linking Melbourne Authority as proponent for the East West Link draws on the relevant expertise within both agencies and ensures that planning is co-ordinated across Government.”

Mr Mulder said that appointing a project proponent was the next step in the planning process under the Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009 and a signal that momentum on large infrastructure development in Victoria was continuing.

“We invested significant funding for these projects in the last State Budget, and strong progress has been achieved allowing us to take this next step in the planning process,” Mr Mulder said.

“The early engineering, geotechnical work and flora and fauna studies done for the business case puts us in a good position for planning, and we plan to submit our findings to the responsible Commonwealth department so that we can gain an understanding of any assessment requirements under the Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999,” Mr Mulder said.

“It makes sense to declare Linking Melbourne Authority as proponent for the eastern section of the East West Link between the Eastern Freeway and Port area as it previously planned the western section as well as major projects such as EastLink, and brings great expertise in this area.”

Mr Mulder said that the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel project was vital to increase capacity and would provide increased services to Melbourne’s growth areas in the north, west and south east.

The Melbourne Metro rail tunnel is needed to untangle the rail network and unlock capacity, and includes the construction of a nine kilometre rail tunnel under the heart of Melbourne that will link the Sunbury and Dandenong rail lines. The project will include five new underground stations to be located at North Melbourne, Parkville, CBD North, CBD South and Domain.

“We are taking the next steps needed to obtain planning approvals for this massive public transport project, in particular to protect the Melbourne Metro corridor so it can proceed quickly when it receives Commonwealth funding,” Mr Mulder said.

The East West Link is a proposed 18 kilometre cross city freeway connecting the Eastern Freeway at Hoddle Street with the M80 Ring Road in Sunshine West. The project would provide an alternative to the M1 corridor, alleviate chronic congestion and improve travel time reliability for motorists and freight travel.

The announcement by Mr Mulder comes weeks after the State Government confirmed a preferred route for rail development to connect Melbourne Airport to the city centre.