The North East Link project will be kick-started with AU$35m for business case development, consultation and route selection complete by 2018, and planning approval and tender processes beginning that year.
The Labor government said that it will not sign contracts before the election, giving the community their say on the project without binding future governments.
The project is expected to take around ten years to complete, create more than 5,000 direct jobs, and cost up to AU$10bn, funded by a mixture of government contributions and tolls, with final funding arrangements determined as part of the detailed planning process.
The project will be spearheaded by a new North East Link Authority, overseen by the Victorian Coordinator General, under the same model used to progress the Metro Tunnel, the Western Distributor, and the removal of Melbourne’s 50 worst level crossings.
The project will connect the southern and eastern suburbs to Tullamarine Airport.
“Joining the ring road is a no brainer to take thousands of cars and trucks off local streets and congested freeways – but governments have put it in the too-hard basket for decades,” said minister for roads and road safety Luke Donnellan.