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Friday, May 14, 2021

Federal Government contributes $132.5 million toward light rail stage 2A

The Federal Government this morning announced they will invest $132.5 million of funding toward stage 2A of Canberra’s light rail network.

The $132.5 million investment is roughly double the $67 million funding the Federal Government financed toward the Gungahlin-to-Civic leg.

With procurement on the project still underway, ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said he expects construction to commence in the 2021-22 financial year, and for “tracks to be laid” by the next Territory election in 2024.

“Whilst this project will be very disruptive during construction, it will deliver long-term transport and economic benefits for our city, with better quality mass transit, powered by 100% renewable electricity.”

The ACT Government is yet to disclose how much the ACT Government expects stage 2A to cost, with Mr Steel citing the government’s desire to maintain a competitive advantage throughout the tender process.

“We will reveal that in due course,” he told ABC Radio Canberra’s Breakfast this morning.

The ACT Budget 2020-21 estimated the total cost for Stage 2A and works to raise London Circuit, including design, construction, purchase of additional light rail vehicles, an additional depot, and project management, to be in the range of $1.5 billion to $1.9 billion.

Stage 2A will add 1.7 km of track and three new stops south of the existing line in Civic, operating ‘wire free’ from Alinga Street through to Commonwealth Park.

The ACT Government expects an additional 2,500-3,000 passengers a day in the first operating year.

Mr Steel said light rail stage one has already seen more Canberrans who previously didn’t use public transport take it up.

“More than 43% of people surveyed stated they had never used public transport before catching light rail,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the funding comes as part of the Australian Government’s $110 billion investment pipeline.

“Extending the light rail will also create jobs and bust congestion in the ACT by improving public transport and pedestrian and cyclist safety,” Mr McCormack said.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr acknowledged the contribution from the Federal Government emphasised the importance of the project for the Territory.

“The Commonwealth’s support for the project is welcomed, and it follows in the footsteps of the financial support received for stage one of the ACT’s light rail network,” Mr Barr said.

Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja said for Canberrans, extending the Gungahlin-City light rail made sense.

“It is important we get light rail right for Canberrans. With construction anticipated to commence in 2022, stage 2A is the first leg of bringing light rail to Woden, and will extend the existing route by three stops to Commonwealth Park,” he said.

In addition to the cost of the construction of light rail stage 2A are the corresponding works to raise London Circuit to form a level intersection with Commonwealth Avenue.

$2.1 million funding was put aside in the ACT Government’s 2020-21 Budget for early design works to raise London Circuit.

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