Warrnambool mayor Tony Herbert has urged the state government to fund fast rail for the city's line to help it recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
His plea comes after research conducted by the National Institute for Economic and Industry Research revealed trains that can travel up to 200km/h would boost the region's economy by up to 20 per cent by 2050.
"With pandemic recovery now facing us all, there isn't a better economic impact on offer," Cr Herbert said.
"We want it front of the queue for consideration."
He said the city council supported the statewide regional fast commuter program known as Stronger Together, which would reduce travel times and create thousands of jobs in the construction phase.
The proposed rail program is the work of several regional local governments and business groups working with Australian and UK infrastructure and finance experts for more than two years to design both the network and an affordable business case to deliver it.
"An affordable commercial business case has been developed and is being independently reviewed," Cr Herbert said.
"The independent economic assessment is complete and available for all to read - and it is stunning.
"We need politicians in the city and the bush to understand what we have on our hands.
"It can reshape our whole economy if we are serious about strong recovery."
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said Warrnambool was being held back by the "Premier of Melbourne" Daniel Andrews.
Ms Britnell said the coronavirus had shown that people could work away from their "bricks and mortar" workplace, which made living in regional Victoria a more attractive option.
But they needed to be able to access Melbourne on occasion and the lengthy train trip was holding people back from making the move, she said.
"For many of them the only thing that is holding them back from raising their family in country Victoria is the tyranny of distance," Ms Britnell said.
"We know that fast rail is effective all over the world. It's just a shame the Premier of Melbourne doesn't understand the value of the whole state he governs."
Ms Britnell said to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the region needed investment in rail, roads and healthcare.
"I'm hoping the budget in October will reflect that," she said.
A spokesman said the government was getting on with delivering the Regional Rail Revival and planning for the Geelong Fast Rail - which would deliver faster services and better journeys.
"Our investment in the Warrnambool line upgrade will provide more services and better journeys for commuters in Victoria's South West," the spokesman said.
"As part of this upgrade we're delivering increased reliability and a fifth weekday return service for passengers on the Warrnambool Line."
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