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Business case approved for first stage of Canberra's Capital Metro light rail project

AN expression of interest process will soon be launched for the Capital Metro project, after the ACT Government approved the business case for the 12-kilometre first stage of the project between the City and Gungahlin.

At an industry briefing last week, ACT Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell told more than 300 local, national and international representatives that the government would begin the expression of interest at the end of the October, with the project to be delivered as a public private partnership.

Mr Corbell said that while the cost of the project will be determined by a competitive market process, the estimated capital cost of the project is $610 million, plus a $173 million contingency.

"This estimate is consistent with the previous estimate of $614 million, adjusted for escalation and risk," the Minister said.

"Although it is unusual to release a project's business case, the ACT Government is committed to an open and transparent process and intends to release the Capital Metro business case on 31 October.

"Government is taking a short period before releasing the business case to obtain final external advice on managing the procurement process to achieve value for money for the territory in the context of the business case having been released," Mr Corbell said.

The Minister said the city needs reliable, frequent and safe public transport, with the population of the northern suburbs growing at five times the rate of the rest of Canberra.

"If we do nothing the estimated journey time from City to Gungahlin in 2031 will be more than 50 minutes in a car. Light rail will offer commuters a viable, attractive public transport option with a consistent journey time of about 25 minutes," he said.

The release of early designs for the project in July showed the 12-kilometre route will travel along the centre median of Northbourne Avenue, the Federal Highway, Flemington Road and Hibberson Street and include up to 13 potential stops.

More information is available from the Capital Metro website at <http://www.capitalmetro.act.gov.au/>.

Thumbnail photo: Artist's impression of light rail on Flemington Road, Canberra / ACT Government - Capital Metro.

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