Media Articles on Light Rail

This is a list of media articles on light rail in the Capital region, in roughly chronological order so the most recent articles are down the bottom.

(Media reports on Light Rail (Newspaper, radio and TV) from old website here)

Canberra Times articles on Light Rail in Canberra (excerpts and links)

Light Rail in study of transport - Feb 2002

"A feasibility study into public transport options for Canberra is expected to start in March.

It will include looking at a light-rail system from Gungahlin to Civic, which is now estimated to cost $80 million to build - almost double the $45 million forecast in 1992.

The Liberal Party will support the rail being built wherever the study finds it to be feasible, but has been told it could take 10 years for the rail to start operating.

A public meeting of about 80 in Gungahlin last night was told the Government would spend $250,000 on a six-month study of public transport options.

Planning Minister Simon Corbell said the terms of reference were being drawn up. The study would be completed by consultants, Planning and Land Management and part of the Urban Services Department."

Inner-city light rail could be start of network - Feb 2003

"A commuter light rail system linking Civic, Barton, Russell and the Parliamentary Triangle would be the first stage in a wider network under a proposal before the ACT Government.

Planning Minister Simon Corbell told a public transport forum in Civic yesterday that initial research had found that a light rail system focused on these areas would be an ideal first stage of a wider network."

"Imagine working in Civic but enjoying lunch at Manuka without any traffic and parking hassles."

If the Government went ahead with the proposal it would eventually be part of an inter-town centre network that would include Gungahlin."

Govt urged to back light rail - Nov 2003

Plan opts for bus lanes rather than light rail - Dec 2003

"The draft plan backs away from the use of light rail, opting instead for a series of bus-only corridors separate from other roads linking Gungahlin, and later Belconnen, Woden and Tuggeranong, to Civic, with a view to possibly converting to light rail at a later date. The bus corridors are based on a similar system already in place in Brisbane.

Mr Corbell said a light rail system would cost $890million to install, as opposed to about $44million which would be spent on the Gungahlin and Belconnen bus links to Civic, which could be converted to light rail to accommodate future population growth.

"I know some will be disappointed not to see light rail at this stage, but I would ask them to see the long-term picture. What we are doing is putting down the foundations for a light rail system which we will run as a bus system initially," Mr Corbell said.

He said the system would probably not be converted to light rail until Canberra's population began to approach half a million.

Bus routes and interchanges would be redesigned to capitalise on some of the advantages of light rail, such as fixed routes and real-time displays, with interchanges to take on an airport-style feel to make them more appealing.

Mr Corbell said other than the Gungahlin Drive extension and Majura Road alignment, no other major roads were planned for the ACT and the city would have to start relying more on alternatives to the car."

A last-ditch push to put light rail on the agenda - Jul 2005

"The group fears that the ACT Government's plan to build busways - special roads designed for buses only - will lock out light rail in Canberra for generations.

The Public Transport Futures Feasibility Report, which compared the cost of transport links between Canberra's town centres, concluded that light rail would cost the territory $890million - $220million more than the cost of busways.

But Professor Newman, the man behind a recent rail-building revolution in Perth, said the study was "misleading" and had "over-engineered" the rail option.

"I have been analysing these kinds of reports for most of my career," he said. "You have to spend a lot more public money to make [busways] work."

Light rail ruled out for ACT - Jul 2005

CANBERRA'S public transport system is ''on track'' but will not include a light-rail network in the foreseeable future.

ACT Planning Minister Simon Corbell ruled out the network after visiting Portland, one of the world's light-rail success stories, on a study tour last month.

''We can't afford it,'' he told the Canberra Sunday Times.

He cites an 8 per cent increase in the use of ACTION buses this year as evidence that the system is working, and points to new proposals such as the Civic- Belconnen busway and a $6.8million ''real-time'' information system, which will tell waiting commuters when a bus will arrive.

It's all onboard in push for light rail - Jul 2008

"The ACT Government is pushing for a $1billion light rail system to run between the Parliamentary Triangle, Civic and the airport, despite previously dismissing the idea as too expensive.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has put the proposal at the top of his wish list for federal funding, along with plans for a national Very Fast Train linking Canberra and three or four eastern capitals."

New suburbs 'wrong' for light rail - Jul 2008

"The Australian Institute of Architects ACT Chapter backs the Government's new push for a $1billion light-rail system.

But chapter president David Flannery said, ''It would be wrong for the Government to continue to release land at the edges of Canberra and expect a light-rail system serving Civic, the airport and town centres to work.

''Not everyone realises how the issues we face in Canberra are all linked: shopping centres and schools closing in our inner suburbs, the failure of Canberra's existing public transport, and Canberrans finding themselves spending longer and longer time in their cars each day driving to work these are all symptoms of the city's expanding footprint.''

Light rail corridors already on the map - Jul 2008

"The likely corridors for Canberra's futuristic light rail network are already plotted.

The plan says a ''corridor transit system'' operating on a fully or partly dedicated right of way serving all core trunk routes, is justified for Canberra.

However yesterday's decision by the Stanhope Government to formally embrace light rail means the iconic project could be built sooner than expected.

ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope revealed he would lobby the Rudd Government for $1 billion from the $20 billion Building Australia Fund to build the largest mass transit network of its type in Australia.

Representatives from the ACT Government, the Canberra Business Council and the Conservation Council will meet tomorrow to form a task force for the light rail project.

The ACT Planning and Land Authority has reserved corridors for busways which eventually will carry light rail. They will run between city centres, for example, along Adelaide and Northbourne avenues."

Light-rail plan welcomed - Jul 2008

"Public transport advocates have urged the ACT Government to seize the opportunity to build a light-rail network.

The Government asked the Commonwealth earlier this week to pay for a light-rail system and other infrastructure, using the $20billion Building Australia fund.

Curtin University sustainability expert Professor Peter Newman said it was important that any light-rail proposal was backed by a partnership with land development along rail lines.

''You can have transit-oriented developments, which means you can have mix of high-density residential and office complexes, so the city grows up around transport,'' he said.

Property developer Bob Winnel suggested that a light-rail system should be planned for the new suburbs of Molonglo, with medium and high-density housing around stations."

Time running out to put case for light rail - Sep 2008

"The ACT Government revealed yesterday that it had committed $500,000 for an independent business case to be presented to Infrastructure Australia, but a spokeswoman for Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said no date was set for the study's completion.

Canberra Business Council and the Conservation Council ACT Region are working to increase community support for light rail and invited Professor Newman, director of Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, to speak on the issue.

He said Canberra was at a turning point and needed partnerships between business and community groups.

The Federal Government's infrastructure agenda was not about funds dropping from heaven, but about creating a city for a more sustainable, less car-dependent future.

''You've got a couple of months to get your act together,'' he said."

Treasury inflated light rail cost: expert - Jun 2010

"ACT Treasury had significantly overestimated the cost of building a light rail network in Canberra, ensuring the project would not go ahead, RMIT transport planning senior lecturer Paul Mees told a transport forum in Canberra.

He said the funding submission by ACT Treasury to Infrastructure Australia had estimated the cost of a light rail network for Canberra at more than $2 billion. He compared this to the 72km heavy rail line from Perth to Mandurah which had cost $1.6 billion. The line, which now carried about 60,000 passengers daily, included an underground line in Perth.

''Anyone reading that document [the ACT Treasury submission] would say these people are not serious,'' Dr Mees said."

Traffic chaos drives light-rail push - Aug 2010

"The recent bridge collapse in Canberra's north and the ensuing traffic chaos has highlighted Canberra's unsustainable dependence on cars, according to Gungahlin Community Council's president.

Alan Kerlin said the incident highlighted the need for a light-rail network in the capital.

Mr Kerlin said the ACT Government was missing the point by maintaining it can't afford to build a light rail.

''The ACT Government funded PriceWaterhouseCoopers to do the cost-benefit analysis on light rail it came out overwhelmingly in the positive, with a return on investment of 14.92 per cent,'' Mr Kerlin said.

''That's a positive return in anyone's maths. [But] there was a problem with the PWC cost-benefit analysis: it didn't include increased revenues from land sales and rate revenues. As in, if you've got permanent infrastructure in there for public transport, people will pay more for the land - that's a proven fact.''

Canberra's compacting as we fill in the gaps - May 2011

"He agreed with a call from Canberra developers Jure Domazet and Josip Zivko at a recent Property Institute meeting, that light rail could be started in the city, running either to Russell or Dickson.

Mr Stewart said he would continue issuing statements based on Griffin's vision of landscaped boulevards shared by cars, trams, pedestrians and green space."

Plans for light rail on Northbourne Ave raised again - May 2011

"University of Canberra's chair of urban and regional planning, Barbara Norman, said the gateway into the nation's capital should be a showcase for sustainable urban design and any discussion about sustainable development would have to include a transport plan.

''I advocate an integrated transport plan so there will still be cars in the future but we should also seriously consider light rail,'' Professor Norman said."

End of the line - Jun 2011

"Mr Haas said that if Canberra wanted to alleviate its traffic woes in the future it needed to look for an alternative to cars and buses.
''The Government's main focus for the transport portfolio at the moment appears to be building the Majura parkway,'' he said.
''I think we need to invest in roads as well as public transport. I'm saying if you want better transport you need to look at public transport.
''If you want to deal with road congestion by building better roads it's like putting another notch on a fat man's belt.''

Light Rail link cheaper option than parkway - Greens Jun 2011

A Victorian Government watchdog's scathing report on road construction is a warning to Canberrans to avoid the same mistakes, the Greens say.
The party's transport spokeswoman, Amanda Bresnan, also said yesterday the proposed Majura Parkway would cost far more than a new light-rail link from Gungahlin to Civic and an ACT Government analysis backs her case.
However, Planning Minister Simon Corbell said the parkway would be an important way of keeping freight traffic out of Canberra's suburbs.
Victorian Auditor-General Des Pearson issued his findings last week on six roads that cost a total of $2 billion.
He said government agencies failed to realise that building large new roads had, in most cases, added to congestion, and they therefore underestimated the roads' net costs.

Light rail back on the agenda - Jun 2011

Light rail for Canberra is back on the ACT Government's radar, but in a radically stripped-down form.

...Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Simon Corbell have told transport planners to look at options for a 13km route between Civic and Gungahlin with an initial study of the 8km between the city and Exhibition Park, to be known as Route A1.

The designers will then move on to planning a route between the showgrounds and Gungahlin Town Centre, to be known as Route A2.

But Ms Gallagher has indicated that federal money would still be needed to build even the beginnings of a system.

A most imaginative train of thought Jun 2011

How to improve transport now Jun 2011
Better land-use planning, a light-rail system, and strategic ''densification'' all these are necessary long-term strategies to move Canberrans out of their cars and into public transport. 
These developments could take perhaps a generation or more, to make a difference. Yet sustainability and overcoming congestion are challenges that the transport system in the ACT has to meet now. Is there anything that can be done to change people's travel patterns now?
These policy changes fall into three basic categories: (1) modal integration between transit, pedestrians and cars; (2) increased and more effective marketing of transport alternatives, especially to new markets; and (3) enhanced transit amenities.
...these smaller, more incremental, quicker strategies, done properly, can result in expanded patronage on existing buses quickly and cost-effectively.
They will cost at least a little more money than now, but the benefits will be there in terms of (a) less congestion on roads, especially during peak hours, (b) agglomeration, ie, continuing to build employment density and productivity in Canberra's major job centres and (c) building a larger patronage base now which will yield even bigger mode share shifts when the big policies finally do take root.

14/06/11 - Light rail back on track
6/11/11 - Car-dependent 'disaster' (about bus network)
16/12/11 - Northbourne fix on track
18/04/12 - Light-rail cost estimate is called into question
23/05/12 - Light rail costs off the tracks: peak body
23/05/12 - Light rail cost 'doesn't stack up'
21/09/12 - Labor backs light rail
21/09/12 - Party positive about capital's transport overhaul
22/09/12 - Labor unveil plan for light rail line
28/09/12 - Libs defend light rail stance
18/10/12 - Light on light rail details
18/10/12 - Next stop: light rail?
22/10/12 - Libs willing to talk on light rail, plastic bags
1/11/12 - Light rail may halt Canberra's urban sprawl in its tracks
3/11/12 - Agreement means all aboard for light rail plan
9/11/12 - Paying for light rail
17/02/13 - Corbell promises minimal rail pain
8/03/13 - Friction reaches new heights
8/08/13 - Canberra light rail plan: 'Not enough traffic' says Infrastructure Australia report
16/08/13 - Emma Thomas resigns after 1yr - 5yr contract South Aust.
28/10/13 - Heavy pay for light rail leader
13/11/13 - Light rail will benefit all Canberrans: project director
26/03/14 - Light rail project seeks finance boss to avoid costs blow out
3/06/14 - Light rail network receives $21.3 million budget jumpstart
11/06/14 - Study commissioned by ACT Liberals finds Canberra light rail is 'not viable'
12/06/14 - Light rail in Canberra not economically viable: report
12/06/14 - Light rail report on costs rejected by ACT Government
21/06/14 - Canberra light rail contractors encouraged to employ local workers, businesses
9/07/14 - Canberra light rail project 'would serve only a fraction of city,' say Liberals
10/07/14 - More doubts over ACT light rail pork
14/07/14 - ACT light rail: Workers dig holes to check utilities along proposed train route
15/07/14 - Light rail go-ahead slammed by Productivity Commission
15/07/14 - Huffing and puffing about light rail
16/07/14 - A simple sanity check on Canberra's light rail project
31/07/14 - Former chief minister opposes ACT light rail pork
5/08/14 - Inquiry calls for more clarity on light-rail spending
12/08/14 - Liberals vote against light rail spending
8/09/14 - Tram build could be $760 million under new estimate
15/09/14 - Canberra's $780m light rail line gets final go ahead, business case to be released
16/09/14 - Community councils not ready to commit to light rail
16/09/14 - Canberra light rail project moves ahead after business case approved
17/09/14 - Canberra light rail gets green light
18/09/14 - Capital Metro costs blow out by tens of millions more
18/09/14 - Light rail promotional merchandise costs $14k
14/10/14 - Gungahlin light rail line is a mistake, says former Treasury heavyhitter David Hughes
15/10/14 - Canberra light rail plan an expensive 'folly', says former ACT Treasury official
20/10/14 - Jeremy Hanson will do 'everything' to stop light rail in Canberra
31/10/14 - Light rail business case and the light of day
31/10/14 - Canberra light rail could cost up to $1 billion: ACT Opposition
31/10/14 - Light Rail to deliver $1 billion in benefits: ACT Government
1/11/14 - Canberra light rail to deliver $1b in community benefits, business case shows
17/11/14 - Fantasy: The case for light rail in Gungahlin
21/11/14 - Bicycle friendly light rail service in Canberra high on public agenda
24/11/14 - Canberra light rail: Experts urge caution, transparency with public-private partnership deals
1/12/14 - Light rail to transport Canberra into the Future - ACT Greens
5/12/14 - Why light rail may be a political killer in Canberra
10/12/14 - The trouble with Canberra's light rail plan
22/12/14 - Capital Metro light rail bidders announced for Canberra Gungahlin tram line
21/01/15 - Northbourne Avenue's trees to be replaced as part of Canberra light rail development
3/02/15 - ACT government mulls options to sell Canberra's street lights
4/02/15 - Light rail gives investors confidence in Canberra, business owner says
5/02/15 - Northbourne makeover in rail plans
9/02/15 - Canberra expands light rail project
12/02/15 - The ACT government insists new planning laws will apply only to light rail
17/02/15 - The ACT Government is asking for proposals to the light rail project to include an extension option
25/02/15 - Gungahlin residents will use light rail: community council survey
5/03/15 - Canberra light rail on international stage
8/03/15 - Light rail is either a timely development or a waste of money
14/04/15 - Canberra's $800m light-rail to nowhere troubles economists
16/04/15 - A 'disturbing lack of facts' on Canberra's Capital Metro light rail: experts
17/04/15 - Expected value for money...'as good as it gets' 

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