Following Senator David Pocock’s announcement that he was opposed to federal funding for light rail to Woden, PTCBR has made clear that is disappointed with the Senator’s announcement.
It’s sad to see this framed as a contest between light rail, which will serve over 20,000 people every day, and a stadium, which might do so on a handful of days each year. Canberrans should and can have both.
We’re also warning against thinking unproven, alternative technologies would get southside residents a dedicated transport route any cheaper or sooner. While Senator Pocock has shown an interest in “electric buses and trackless trams similar to those being trialled in Brisbane.” The current project is $1.7bn for a 200m tunnel, an upgraded station, improvements to existing busways and public realm upgrades (plus the vehicles). A planned extension would cost $1.3 billion for just over five kilometres of surface busway and four new stops.
The fact is, electric buses or trackless trams aren’t cheaper alternatives to light rail. and any attempt to change Canberra’s approach now will only delay a well-advanced project.
Finally, we’d like to remind the Senator that light rail to Woden is an incredibly popular project. A 2021 survey from the Australia Institute found 63 per cent of Canberrans are in favour of the project, compared to only 33 per cent against. This is a resounding degree of support in today’s polarised environment.