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Canberra’s light rail project

Canberra’s light rail project touted to pay large dividends to community.

Capital Metro’s vision for the project is:

To boost Canberra’s sustainable growth by changing and improving transport options, settlement patterns and employment opportunities.

Canberra’s proposed light rail project (yet to be implemented) is estimated to cost $783 million, including $610 million for capital and $173 million set aside as a contingency. The $783 million budget for capital includes design, construction and light rail vehicles. The rail is proposed to connecting Gungahlin to Canberra’s CBD.

The project is expected to cost $610 million, but could cost as much as $783 million.
PHOTO: The Canberra light rail project (Supplied: Capital Metro)

Benefits to the community are reported to included $222 million in transport time savings, $140 million in infrastructure efficiency savings, $198 million in wider economic benefits and $240 million in land-use benefits.

It also factored in $5 million in walking, cycling and health benefits and $13 million in environmental and other benefits.

However, many are opposed to the project claiming that the value of the benefits have been inflated. Some believe that extra bus lanes would be a better and more cost effective option as the light rail will be impeded by traffic at many intersections just as a bus would be.

Artist impression of Capital Metro light rail station

PHOTO: The Canberra light rail project (Supplied: Capital Metro)

The business case, which was compiled by professional services firm Ernst and Young, indicated a return of $1.20 for every dollar spent.

Public transport use has been predicted to increase over 30 per cent by 2031, with over 20,000 journeys made by light rail in Canberra every day.

The business case for the rail project indicated that, once the light rail was up and running, it would cost $22 million per year on average in operational costs.

The project is reported to result in improved economic conditions in Canberra, creating 1,450 direct jobs and 2,100 indirect jobs.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the construction phase alone would create more than 3,500 ACT jobs.

It is proposed that the first stage of light rail network from Gungahlin to the city would be implemented as a public-private partnership.

Along with the release of the report, the ACT Government announced that the expression of interest process for businesses wanting to help build the tram line was now open.

Artist impression of Capital Metro light rail

PHOTO: The Canberra light rail project (Supplied: Capital Metro)

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