Light Rail Stage 2 from the City to Woden should go via Commonwealth Avenue and Barton to attract more passengers, service more areas and make way for a future light rail route from Belconnen to the Airport, according to new analysis prepared for the Federal Joint Standing Committee inquiry into Stage 2.
Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris said planning for future light rail stages had already begun, with the ACT Government telling the Joint Standing Committee that Commonwealth Avenue Bridge was the best option when considering the broader light rail network.
“Canberra is best served by a north-south light rail spine via Commonwealth Avenue, which will provide better light rail coverage through the City and Parliamentary areas, and result in higher passenger numbers, fewer significant trees needing removal and better travel times.
“An alternative via Kings Avenue would ultimately be detrimental to both the road network and the light rail network as it would force both the route to Woden and a future route to the Airport to share the same track along Constitution Avenue, creating significant delays to both routes.”
Minister Fitzharris said the ACT Government was unlikely to invest in the project should it be required to cross the Lake at Kings Avenue.
“Up until now all our planning and design has been for a City to Woden route that crosses the lake at Commonwealth Avenue. Crossing the lake at Kings Avenue to get to Woden would increase the cost to around $1.9 billion, while isolating vast areas of the city.
“Given the lasting, sub-optimal outcomes this would produce for Canberra, the ACT Government is reluctant to support it.”
Minister Fitzharris said a network view, rather than looking at each light rail corridor in isolation, would ensure future light rail routes are most effective.
“I’m not just focused on light rail to Woden. I’m now looking at where to for stage three, four and beyond.
“Earlier this month it was great to see Labor Party members call for stage three of light rail to go east-west, from Belconnen to the Airport, and I’ll be looking into how we can make that happen.
“Ultimately we are building a light rail network that needs dedicated corridors travelling east-west and north-south, both intersecting in the City.
“We can’t look at each route in isolation – we need to think about how it will work within the broader network if we want to get this right.
“That’s why I’d encourage the Joint Standing Committee to think about the broader network and public transport outcomes we are seeking to achieve when considering their approval processes for light rail stage two.
“I look forward to the Joint Standing Committee’s final report so that this vital public transport project can proceed with certainty as soon as possible,” said Minister Fitzharris.
The full mid-year update and the final submission to the Joint Standing Committee can be accessed from the TCCS website: www.transport.act.gov.au/light-rail-project/city-to-woden-stage-two
- Statement ends -
Section: Meegan Fitzharris, MLA | Media Releases
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