ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell last week announced that the government is seeking tenders to prepare the master plan for a light rail network that will connect residential development with areas of employment, retail and entertainment.
The study aims to inform decision-making about future investment in light rail in Canberra and follows the government's commitment to deliver the Capital Metro light rail project along Northbourne Avenue between Gungahlin and the City Centre, with 'tracks in the ground' by 2016.
"The government is moving ahead with plans for the Gungahlin to the City Centre component of the light rail network but it is important that we also start the planning process for the network to expand beyond Stage 1," Mr Corbell said.
"This is a long term project for Canberra and it is important that we get the planning phases done right, to ensure we get the best value for money and to maximise the significant social, economic and environmental opportunities that light rail provides."
In the 2012-13 Budget, the government committed $1.4 million for the integrated transport and land use planning process to investigate and identify options for a future Canberra-wide light rail network and assess its feasibility. The community is expected have an opportunity to provide feedback on light rail options later in the year.
"The Light Rail Master Plan will build on work by the ACT Government on light rail and the public transport networks, as part of delivering on government policy in Transport for Canberra, the ACT Planning Strategy and the draft City Plan," the Minister said.
"The Light Rail Master Plan will guide government decision making about the future investment in the extension of Capital Metro, the light rail network. Capital Metro is not just a transport project, it will help shape Canberra's population growth by providing sustainable and attractive travel options."
More information about the tender is available from the ACT Government Procurement website at <http://www.procurement.act.gov.au/>. The tender process closes on 4 March 2014 and the successful consultant is expected to be appointed in late March 2014.
More information about Capital Metro is available from <http://www.capitalmetro.act.gov.au/>.