AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Green light for Newcastle light rail

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Light Rail is now firmly on the agenda for Newcastle after yesterday’s announcement by the New South Wales Government that it will use proceeds from the privatisation of the Port of Newcastle to revitalise the CBD. </span> <p>Handing down yesterday’s 2013-14 state budget, the NSW Government announced that it will offer a 99-year lease of the port and if the transaction was successful, $340m of the $700m in proceeds would be directed to a new light rail package for central Newcastle.</p><p>The government has already made a definite $120m funding commitment.</p><p>The funding gained from the lease of the port would not only deliver light rail in Newcastle’s CBD but would also provide the potential basis for a future wider light rail extensions, the government said.</p><p>“The proposed new light rail option between Wickham and Newcastle is potentially only the beginning of a light rail system or Newcastle and the region. $10m will be allocated to explore the potential for this link to be the basis for light rail linking the CBD with surrounding suburbs, beaches and the broader Hunter region,” NSW treasurer Mike Baird said.</p><p>The government announced its vision for Newcastle last year – including the removal of the heavy rail line between Wickham and Civic so the city would not be divided from its harbour-front.</p><p>The government said the light rail package has the potential to be the catalyst for addressing Newcastle’s transport needs.</p><p>“This will go beyond a mere revitalisation. It will effectively be the rebirth of Newcastle as a modern city …and will unlock its potential as a vibrant place to live and visit,&quot Baird said.<br />&nbsp</p>