The ACT Government has committed  $12.5 million in the 2018/19 Budget for planning, design and enabling works for light rail stage two.

Minister for Transport Canberra and City Services, Meegan Fitzharris, said extending light rail to Woden will see Canberra further realise the benefits of a city-wide light rail network by providing a critical north-south public transport spine.

“We are committed to bringing light rail to Woden, and this further investment will ensure we deliver,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“The preferred route will connect the city and Woden via Parkes and Barton. This route provides the best access through the Parliamentary Zone to employment hubs, cultural institutions and other places of interest such as Manuka Oval.

“With this preferred route now on the table and progress being made regarding the Commonwealth’s approval processes, we are getting on with making Canberra’s transformative public transport project a reality.

“Light rail from Gungahlin to the city is going well, with testing of the light rail vehicles to begin soon, and Canberra Metro on track to complete construction in December this year.

“This Budget will also fund the start of works on a light rail stop for Mitchell. This will enable Transport Canberra to enter into negotiations for a stop at Sandford Street, and will include the technical design for the stop to be constructed in 2019-20.”

Ms Fitzharris said the Budget will invest $10 million to further advance the technical and design aspects of light rail to Woden so that the National Capital Authority will have all the information it needs to understand the benefits of the project.

“This will include work to inform the recently announced Inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee into the Commonwealth and Parliamentary approvals for the project,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“The ACT Government has welcomed the Inquiry, and we are committed to working with all relevant stakeholders to ensure planning for this project responds to their needs so that we can deliver this important transport link for our city.”

The Budget will also invest a further $2.5 million in works to support light rail to Woden. This involves the preparation of detailed businesses cases for potential early works, including:

  • The redesign and build of a new Transport Canberra bus interchange in the Woden Town Centre
  • An upgrade of Parkes Way to improve traffic flow
  • The development of an updated ‘Park and Ride’ strategy incorporating bus and light rail
  • The redevelopment of the Yarra Glenn intersection with Melrose and Yamba Drives to accommodate light rail

“We are tackling this project from both ends because we want to be ready to get work underway as soon as the project gets the green light,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“This project is significant for Woden and urban renewal of the town centre. We are already seeing investment in Woden as a result of the ACT Government’s plan to build light rail, and this will continue as we have seen along the city to Gungahlin corridor.”

The Australian Rail Association (ARA) welcomed the funding allocation.

ARA CEO, Danny Broad, said, “This is fantastic news for Canberrans; with more than 500,000 Canberrans projected to live or work in the ACT over the next 20 years, stage two of Canberra Light Rail is a vital link in Canberra’s future public transport network.

“This announcement will cater for Canberra’s growing population and provide consumers with a light rail transport solution that will reduce congestion and provide connections to all modes of transportation, including greater options for cycling and walking.

“Stage two of Canberra’s light rail is much more than a link between Woden and the city, it will connect Gungahlin to Woden, shrinking the distance between North and South Canberra, linking Canberra hotels with Commonwealth office blocks, providing mass transit solutions to the Parliamentary Triangle and help establish an integrated multi-modal public transport network for Australia’s Capital City.

“The rail industry congratulates the ACT Government for allocating $10 million towards the next stage of planning, design and enabling works for light rail stage two and $2.5 million for works and planning to support the delivery of light rail stage two.”

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