THE bid to extend the rail line to Mernda has won the support of Northern Metropolitan MLC Craig Ondarchie.

He has asked lobbyists to draw up a cost-benefit analysis of taking the rail line from South Morang seven kilometres to Mernda, with an additional three stations.

The information will be given to Treasury to establish a case for the extension, according to Darren Peters of the South Morang and Mernda Rail Alliance.

Mr Ondarchie supported the bid after a meeting with the alliance. “As a local resident, I know that infrastructure is probably eight to 10 years behind where we need to be in Melbourne’s growth areas,” he said. Mr Peters said Mr Ondarchie had told lobbyists he supported a train rather than a bus service.

“The Opposition has only supported a bus, but a train can carry 1000 people, while a bus about 40,” Mr Peters said. “It is fantastic to have someone in government on our side and Craig wants to get moving on this quickly.” He said an economic benefit of the rail extension would be reduced traffic congestion, which affected trades and services using Plenty Road.

“The rail extension – with stations near Marymede Catholic College, Hawkstowe Park and south of Bridge Inn Road, Mernda – will allow people to get home quicker to be with their families.” He said people could support the alliance’s Facebook page or contact Mr Ondarchie.