Leaders pledge billions for congestion busting 6 days out from Australian election

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-12 11:46:43|Editor: Xiang Bo
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CANBERRA, May 12 (Xinhua) -- The focus of Australia's election campaign has turned to Melbourne in Victoria state, with both leaders making major infrastructure announcements in the city.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison formally launched his re-election campaign in Melbourne on Sunday only six days out from the polling day, making a commitment to "get Melbourne moving" if the incumbent Liberal-National party coalition (LNP) wins a third term in power.

According to The Canberra Times, Morrison pledged 4 billion Australian dollars (2.79 billion U.S. dollars) for the East West Link, a major road project abandoned by the state government, in a bid to bust traffic congestion in the country's fastest-growing major city.

"Our investment is about standing by eastern Melburnians who want to get out of the gridlock so they can spend more time with their families, and so they can get to work without wasting hours each week on the road," he said.

The opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) leader Bill Shorten pledged 10 billion Australian dollars (6.9 billion U.S. dollars) for the state government's proposed 50 billion Australian dollars (34.9 billion U.S. dollars) suburban rail loop project.

It brings the total funding committed by Labor to transport projects in and around Melbourne to 18.4 billion Australian dollars (12.8 billion U.S. dollars), according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

"(Victorian Premier) Daniel Andrews and all Victorians need a partner in Canberra and that's what I'll be," Shorten said.

"The suburban rail loop will be a game changer for Australia's fastest-growing city. It means faster travel times and more jobs for Victorians."

With the general election six days away, local opinion polls showed that the ALP maintained a lead over the LNP on a two-party preferred basis.