THE ACT Government last week said it has set out its commitment to investment, jobs, bolstering the ACT economy and providing a modern, first-class public transport system with funding in this year's budget to complete Capital Metro stage one.
Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell announced that the 2015-16 ACT Budget will fund an additional $51.8 million over the next four years for the continued development of the first stage of Canberra's city-wide light rail network.
The project is expected to deliver more than 3500 jobs during construction and return $1 billion in benefits to the Territory's economy. It will also address growing congestion issues that are estimated to cost the ACT economy $700 million a year by 2031 if no action is taken, according to a recent Infrastructure Australia report.
"This funding will allow the Capital Metro Agency to work with the eventual successful consortium to progress the first stage of Canberra light rail network through the design and construction phases to when this city-changing transport system becomes operational in 2019-20," Mr Corbell said.
"We are currently in an exciting phase of the Capital Metro project in which our two world-class shortlisted consortia are preparing their final bids to finance, design, build and operate the first stage of a light rail network in our nation's capital from the City to Gungahlin."
The two shortlisted consortia are:
- Canberra Metro – Pacific Partnerships PTY LTD (lead respondent), Mitsubishi Corp, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments No 4 Ltd, John Holland, DB International GMBH, Leighton Contractors, CAF and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi; and
- ACTivate – Downer EDI Works (lead respondent), Plenary Origination, Bombardier Transportation Australia, Keolis Downer, Keolis SA, Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia, Aurecon Australasia, Cox Architecture, Itochu Australia and Partners Group.
"Funding in the ACT Budget will enable the ongoing provision of specialised technical, program management, legal and commercial advisory services as well as stakeholder engagement activities that are essential to the successful procurement and delivery of the first stage of light rail in Canberra and its operation," the Minister said.
"Over the next four years the Capital Metro project team will not only finalise the project's complex procurement process, but it will also manage the ACT's interests during the construction and implementation of the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the ACT Government.
"In the coming year, the Capital Metro project team will engage with shortlisted consortia in interactive workshops, evaluate their proposals, finalise contracts with the preferred consortium and prepare for construction commencement. Our specialist consultants will be heavily involved in supporting and providing technical advice to the project team during this intensive process."
Funding in the budget will also provide for the continued development and assessment of an option to extend Capital Metro stage one through the City to Russell.
"An extension of light rail to Russell may bring significant benefits to Canberra and the light rail system, including an estimated uplift in patronage of around 30 percent. It would also present additional opportunities for local business participation with the project," Mr Corbell said.
"Shortlisted consortia will include an option to extend stage one light rail through the City to Russell as part of their final proposals for the project."
Mr Corbell said infrastructure projects were essential for the growth of cities and good public transport infrastructure is essential for ongoing sustainable development.
Final bids for Capital Metro stage one are due for submission later this year. The successful consortium will be engaged in the first half of 2016 with construction scheduled to commence mid-2016.
Image: Artist's impression of proposed City Station as part of Capital Metro project / Capital Metro.