Questions remain over Melbourne airport rail link

The cost of Melbourne's airport rail link remains up in the air following the end of a years-long dispute about its location.

The future train station at Tullamarine will be built above ground after the airport backed down from its push to have the complex below ground.

State and federal governments, which want an above-ground station, have each promised $5 billion in funding to build the link but the total cost of the project is unknown.

The Victorian government has long argued a station above the ground would be quicker to build and cost less, with Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan hitting out at the airport for delaying the project as the location dispute played out.

"With delay does come cost, so this will be something that the Commonwealth government will need to work through with its project partners," Ms Allan told reporters in Melbourne on Monday.

A file photo of Jacinta Allan
Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan says the airport rail link has been delayed by four years. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

The airport's plans for a third runway are currently being considered by the federal government and the organisation changed its stance on the rail link in the hope it could be finished in time for when the new runway opens in 2030.

However, Ms Allan said the project had been delayed by four years so it would not open until at least 2033.

"We have lost four years whilst they have pursued that unreasonable claim," she said.

Airport chief executive Lorie Argus said Victorians had long waited for an airport rail line and the organisation would work with the state government so it could become a reality.

The airport wants to restart discussions with the Victorian government on redress to cover the cost of the state acquiring land to build the station, which the organisation leases from the federal government.

A file photo of Lorie Argus
Melbourne Airport chief Lorie Argus said the organisation would work to make the rail line a reality (Diego Fedele/AAP PHOTOS)

It has also flagged talks on the design of the station and order of construction.

The airport is located in Hume council, which previously pushed for a below-ground station, however Mayor Naim Kurt said he was pleased an agreement had finally been reached so it could be built.

"We have strongly advocated for the rail link, in recognition of Melbourne Airport being our largest employer and the only major airport in Australia without one," he said.

It remains unclear how much passengers will pay to travel on the rail connection but Ms Allan said it would be similar to fares to Sydney.