CONTRACTS were signed last week between the ACT Government and the successful light rail consortium, Canberra Metro, paving the way for the start of construction on Canberra's first light rail project.
The project includes the design and construction of a 12 kilometre light rail route from the fast-growing area of Gungahlin to the City with 13 stops, depot, road, signalling and preparatory works and the ongoing operation and maintenance of the light rail system.
Minister for Capital Metro Simon Corbell said the contract also delivered additional features that would improve the way Canberrans make use of inner city spaces.
A new area called Civic Plaza will create an accessible, usable and vibrant space between the Sydney and Melbourne buildings that will link the east and west sides of the CBD.
Mr Corbell said over the 20 years of the contract the annual availability payment, which includes operational costs such as electricity, drivers and maintenance as well as construction costs, would be approximately $48 million in the first 12 months of operations.
The payment would finish at approximately $75 million for the last 12 months of the contract term in 2038, with an average annual availability payment of approximately $64 million.
"Over its 20 year operations period this contract will account for less than 1 per cent of ACT Government expenditure," Mr Corbell said.
"The Australian Government has also demonstrated its support by increasing its contribution to the project to $67 million.
The contract's capital cost will be approximately $710 million, which is less than the cost originally estimated in the business case for the project. This cost will be finalised when financial close for the project is reached in the coming weeks.
The ACT Government would be making a capital contribution of $375 million towards the project in 2018-19, which will be funded from the sale of assets – such as ACTTAB, ageing public housing and ACT Government office accommodation – and includes a 15 per cent bonus from the Commonwealth as part of the Asset Recycling Initiative.
The Canberra Metro consortium comprises John Holland, Pacific Partnerships, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, CPB Contractors, Deutsche Bahn Engineering & Consulting, CAF and the Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.