Tuesday, June 3, 2014

2014 ACT Budget - 21 million for Capital Metro

The 2014 ACT Budget has been announced by the Treasurer, MLA Andrew Barr.

Importantly for light rail, there has been an allocation of 21.3 million dollars to Capital Metro in the 2014/15 financial year.

The Treasurer has confirmed that expressions of interest for construction will be sought in the first half of 2015.

Highlights that relate to public transport are:

  • Infrastructure investment: $2.5 billion over four years.
    • $21.3 million for Capital Metro Agency.
    • Government to seek expressions of interest to build and run to network in the coming year.
    • Construction to begin in 2016.
    • Capital Metro Agency to have 42 staff in 2014-15.
    • Weekend bus services to Molongolo, Harrison, Casey and West Macgregor.
    From the Canberra Times:

    Mr Barr said the total cost of the project would become clear when it was put to the market.
    "Certainly we have made a provision in the forward capital works budget for those major projects," Mr Barr said.
    "There are a number of projects that are at various stages of procurement.
    "There's a huge amount of commercial sensitivity in relation to capital project costs.
    "If I put a figure today, ahead of the procurement process, I guarantee that's where the market will land."
    He said Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell would bring a proposal to cabinet in coming months in relation to the tram network, but it was unlikely the government would operate the network when it became operational.

    Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, announced (from City News):

    “It was a nasty federal budget and it’s clearly going to put the squeeze on the ACT community, the ACT economy and the ACT Government budget bottom line. In the face of that, the ACT will invest in significant projects that will continue to prepare our city for the future and build confidence in our resilience.
    “The development of light rail from the city to Gungahlin will diversify the economy while putting in place a modern transport solution that will also drive urban renewal in the whole of the Northbourne corridor, and gets us started on a project that will reach right across Canberra.

    ABC News covered responses to infrastructure spending here.

    It is estimated the ACT budget will contain more than $1 million for the planning of a new convention centre for Canberra.
    Mr Barr says he recognises the important role a new convention centre could play.
    "We will need to attract investment in order to make the convention centre a reality," he said.
    "But we certainly recognise the importance of the project in the medium term and the longer term for the Territory economy."
    Canberra Business Council chief executive Chris Faulks has welcomed the proposed funding.
    "It's really the time now to invest in infrastructure that will produce growth and jobs and to underpin business confidence and consumer confidence," she said.
    Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell says that would include sticking by the $614 million light rail project.
    "Between 2016 and 2019 over 3,500 thousand jobs will be created through this project," he said.
    "Those are jobs in the construction sector, they're low skilled jobs particularly amongst young people."
    But Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson says light rail is a waste of taxpayers' money.
    "The Government is pursuing light rail essentially to keep Shane Rattenbury in the Cabinet and keep Shane Rattenbury happy," he said.
    "That's not a good enough reason to spend $614 million of taxpayers' money."

    The Canberra Times has coverage here and specific light rail coverage here.

    City News has coverage here.

    The ABC has coverage here.

    For more frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'.  

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