Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand)

Green light for Stage 2B in Canberra

The Federal Government is committing funding to Canberra to improve the city’s public transport network.

It is injecting $50 million to plan for Stage 2B of the Canberra Light Rail. This work will design the extension of the current light rail line from Commonwealth Park to Woden, so that Canberra’s southern suburbs can experience the benefits of improved public transport currently enjoyed by those in the north.

The ACT will also benefit from $100 million of investment in a new national Active Transport Fund that will upgrade and deliver new bicycle and walking paths to support zero emissions travel, provide a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians, and promote active and liveable communities.

The Federal Government are working closely with the ACT Government to support growth and opportunity for all Canberrans.

Minister for Finance and Senator for the ACT, Katy Gallagher said she is proud to be part of a Government that is investing in transport to meet the needs of the growing city.

“Light rail has been a transformative project for the ACT and soon Canberrans on the southside will be able to reap its benefits,” she said.

“The Albanese Government is working hand in hand with the Barr Government to deliver infrastructure for Canberra.”

The ACT community will benefit from strong, secure jobs from this pipeline of investment.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is currently being developed by Major Projects Canberra for the construction of Light Rail Stage 2B. This is the important next step forward in progressing the project towards construction.

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King spoke about the announcement.

“The Government is working for all Australians, making investments that will drive productivity, boost economic growth, create job opportunities and help to tackle cost of living pressures,” she said.

“We’re delivering the infrastructure that improves safety while better connecting people with opportunities and their families.

“We want to ensure that Australia is well placed to compete in the new, net zero economy, to revitalise regions and support communities in cities, suburbs and regions.”

Canberrans are now being invited to have their say on the proposed light rail stops and associated infrastructure, landscaping and heritage matters which will inform the development of the draft EIS.

As the project commences, it will create jobs, build opportunity and unlock economic growth across Canberra’s south.

Canberrans are already experiencing the benefits of being able to commute to work from the northern suburb of Gunghalin to the City Centre, with services operating every five minutes in peak hours, and the short travel time also encourages people to enjoy the amenities in the City.

This investment will cement Canberra’s reputation as a sustainable, liveable city by improving connections to where people live and work as the city continues to grow.

ACT Minister for Transport Chris Steel elaborated on what the funding means.

“We welcome this significant investment from the Commonwealth and their support for the design and approvals for the southside extension of Canberra’s mass-transit light rail line,” he said.

“Canberra’s population is expected to increase from around 460,000 today, to more than 780,000 people by 2060. Both the Albanese Labor Government and the Barr Government are investing now to deliver an integrated public transport network fit for our growing city.

“I encourage people living along the future line and public transport users to get involved by having their say on the design of the transport corridor. This feedback will be used to inform the draft EIS and ongoing design of the project.”

This announcement builds on the Federal Government’s existing $343.9 million commitment to Canberra Light Rail – Stage 2A.