Victoria's newly elected coalition government has announced it will link Melbourne and Avalon Airport by rail, as part of a plan to turn Avalon into a second international airport.
Travellers flying via Avalon currently have to take a shuttle bus to Melbourne, at a cost of $20 each way.
The new rail link will connect Avalon Airport with the nearby suburban railway station of Lara, which is 8.8KM away by road, or 5KM "as the crow flies".
Trains will depart Avalon Airport, pass through Lara and onto the metropolitan train network through to Melbourne.
Avalon Airport is home to most Jetstar and Tiger Airways flights to Melbourne.
However, over time, both airlines have adjusted their schedules to offer flights direct to Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine, because passengers don't like having to take the Avalon airport bus back to Melbourne.
According to Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder, the new rail link is not just about making domestic travel via Avalon more accessible -- it's also about expanding Avalon to be a second major international airport for Melbourne.
"With the Coalition Government's commitment to a new international terminal at Avalon, it is expected up to two million passengers per annum will access the airport," Mulder said.
"With the right transport infrastructure – including a heavy rail link – it could be a competitive, viable and attractive alternative to Melbourne Airport."
"Access to Avalon Airport will be greatly improved, which will help to secure its future as Victoria's second international airport," he said.
However, the rail line won't be built immediately -- the 2011-12 Victorian budget will only include an initial $3 million for planning the link, with funding for construction to be planned into a future budget.