Melbourne distributor may replace EWL: PM

The federal government will support Transurban's proposed $5.5 billion Western Distributor if Victoria can prove it is a road of national significance and the business case stacks up, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

Almost $2 billion would be needed from the federal government for the proposal that includes a tunnel and freeway to ease congestion on the West Gate Bridge.

Mr Abbott, who likened the project to the western half of the scrapped East West Link, said he was prepared to support a major road of national significance that passed a cost-benefit analysis.

But he would need to see a specific proposal before committing $1.5 billion toward the project, he told 3AW on Thursday.

Mr Abbott said while he still wanted the East West Link built, the Western Distributor might be an alternative option.

"The Victorian government should come to us as quickly as possible with what they think is a major road of national significance and get cracking on that. And, sure, we're happy to spend money on that," he said.

"Three billion dollars is available for East West Link and if they want to build the western half of East West Link, obviously we (will) put $1.5 billion up towards that."

Premier Daniel Andrews says he's delighted by Mr Abbott's show of support on Thursday and he expects most Victorians will be too.

"After Tony Abbott's fantastic announcement today we can be in the ground delivering the jobs and the improvements in congestion on the West Gate Bridge, we can start that work from the end of this year," he said.

Mr Andrews wouldn't say how much of the $5.5 billion road the state government was prepared to contribute to the road because of negotiations with Transurban.

Sorry we are not currently accepting comments on this article.