Following one year of operations, the ACT Government has released its 12 month review of the benefits from Light Rail Stage One to help inform planning, design and delivery of future city-shaping infrastructure projects, including the next stage of light rail to Woden.
“From the very beginning of operations light rail has proved itself as a huge success, with the project coming in under budget and seeing an immediate jump in public transport patronage,” Minister for Transport Chris Steel said.
“Comfortable, reliable and frequent services has seen a sustained increase in people using public transport, with more than 4.2 million boardings over the year.”
The review confirms wider economic benefits including increases in land value along the corridor. Based on census data, population growth in the suburbs along the light rail corridor has exceeded what was initially expected in the business case by nearly 2,500 people. Living and working next to light rail has proved popular, with an average increase in the unimproved value of blocks growing by 35.2%, which was significantly greater that the Territory average of 21.7% for the same period.
“Canberrans can already see the broader economic and social benefits that light rail has brought to our city,” Minister Steel said.
“This is a long-term infrastructure investment, and more benefits will continue to be realised and measured over the years and decades to come.
“These are benefits that would never have been realised if the Canberra Liberals had succeeded in killing the light rail project in 2016.”
Minister Steel said that the ACT Government was committed to extending the benefits of Stage 1 of light rail to other parts of Canberra and progressing the design and planning for Light Rail Stage 2A – extending the network from the City to Commonwealth Park, and then on to Woden.
“Stage 1 of light rail created 4750 jobs, with 75% being local sustainable jobs. Stage 2 of light rail will also have an important role to play in supporting more construction jobs and supporting the ACT’s economic recovery.”
As part of the review process, the ACT Government sought feedback from local traders, with many Gungahlin-based businesses citing an increase in revenue, footfall or improved access for customers and staff as benefits of light rail operations.
“There are lessons to be learnt from every project, and the lessons from stage one will help better support our local businesses for stage two,” Minister Steel said.
“Construction on major projects can be disruptive but we will be enhancing our communication with those affected by future projects and will better advising them about construction schedules and plans.”