Monday 20th May, 2019

ACT reviewing options for light rail Stage 2

Photo: Rail Express

The ACT Government is still investigating options for light rail through Canberra’s parliamentary zone, following Federal resistance to the original route proposed by the Territory.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said on March 12 the ACT was in the process of re-examining the technical aspects of possible routes through the parliamentary zone, including further work on a route via State Circle, which was identified recently by the Federal Government as having ‘in principle’ approval under the National Capital Plan.

Canberra’s first stage of light rail, between the city’s CBD, Civic, and the northern town centre of Gungahlin, is set to open in April this year with testing well underway.

The second stage of the project will run from Civic to Woden, a southern town centre, but the route will pass through the city’s parliamentary zone, meaning it will need approval from a Federal Government Joint Standing Committee.

The Committee in question recently rejected the ACT’s initial proposal for the route to go through the Parliamentary Triangle, instead directing the ACT to an alternate route around State Circle.

While the Barr Government is open to changing the route it is yet to confirm it will opt for the State Circle route.

“We will use [new] technical advice to seek formal approval under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act before embarking on other Commonwealth approvals for the Stage 2 route,” Barr said in a joint statement with transport minister Meegan Fitzharris.

“The government will consider all options to ensure we can delivery light rail to Woden as soon as possible.”

With a federal election on the horizon, Barr welcomed a $200 million commitment to the project from Opposition leader Bill Shorten.

“This commitment from Federal Labor and Bill Shorten today highlights that delivering light rail to Woden will progress more quickly under a Federal Labor Government,” Barr claimed.

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