The Public Transport Association of Canberra (PTCBR) has slammed comments made on Thursday morning by ACT Opposition Leader Alistair Coe, who confirmed in an ABC Radio interview that the Canberra Liberals will not be making any commitments on light rail between now and the ACT election.
“The Canberra Liberals have had four years to develop a clear and consistent policy position on light rail,” said PTCBR Chair Ryan Hemsley.
“Now, eight weeks out from election day, they have conceded that they aren’t even willing to take a stance on the second stage to Woden.
“This is an undeniable cop-out from a party which decisively lost the last election on a platform against light rail.”
While Mr Coe maintained that his concern was about getting value for money, at no stage did he outline a scenario in which the Canberra Liberals would extend the network beyond the Gungahlin to Civic line.
“Rather than being upfront about their plans for light rail, the Canberra Liberals are seeking a blank-cheque mandate,” added Mr Hemsley.
“Canberrans deserve a debate grounded on clearly expressed policy positions concerning the future of the network, rather than this evasive spin driven singularly by the Canberra Liberals’ well-known aversion to light rail.”
Mr Hemsley said that Mr Coe’s call for a post-election review of light rail was the clearest indication yet that the Canberra Liberals intended to kill off any future expansion of light rail.
“The last time the Canberra Liberals paid a consultant to review light rail, they overstated the construction cost by $240 million and declared that no private equity partner would invest in the project.”
“These demonstrably false claims give a clear indication of the sort of review Canberrans can expect under a Coe Liberal Government.”
A transcript of Mr Coe’s comments can be viewed here.
Ryan Hemsley is the Chair of the Public Transport Association of Canberra, the Canberra region’s peak public transport lobby group.