Group takes next step in push for rail link

A PETITION calling for the re-introduction of a regional rail link is the latest push to connect Bendigo to other major towns across the state. 

The petition will be tabled in State Parliament next week, in an attempt to "turn the tables for neglected country residents". 

The Rail Revival Alliance, which began as a group of concerned residents and has grown to 300 members, is desperate for a rail link to be built between Bendigo, Castlemaine, Maryborough, Ballarat and Geelong.

A Public Transport Victoria study estimated the project could cost between $760 million and $935 million. But the Rail Revival Alliance is adamant the project would only cost between $80 to $100 million after completing its own study. 

Member Scott Ramsay said tabling the petition was the latest step in a growing push for state government funding. 

"We want to keep the pressure on the government to start seeing the benefit of a regional rail link," he said. 

"There is proof that without a rail link, towns' economies go backwards."

Mr Ramsay said there had been no funding commitments or support from the state government. 

But he said a further rally, following one last year, would be held in Newstead on April 6 to keep spreading the message. 

The petition was presented to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards, who said she remained neutral on the matter. 

"This community group has started a campaign and it is my job as a representative to table it in Parliament just as I would any other petition," she said. 

"However I have no stand on the matter as it stands now."

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