22 Jan / 2022

Urgent need to reassess Light Rail Stage II

The Deakin Residents Association is concerned about the growing expense and damage that will result of the construction of a Light Rail through the heart of Canberra, compared to the benefits of transport alternatives such as electric buses and improved cycleways. While the matter is a local one for the ACT, it is also a matter for all Australians because it will disrupt heritage vistas and damage sites of national importance. The Australian Government can be stop it by refusing to let it pass through national land such as the woodland surrounding Parliament House.
Our estimate is the second Stage of light rail will cost at least $3bn or $300m a kilometre.  Land sales and redevelopment that supported light rail Stage 1 do not apply. We are alarmed at information we have heard about the ACT’s budgetary situation. The heavily indebted ACT Government seems incapable of reviewing the decision made years ago to build it. So we are seeking public support for our campaign for government to not proceed with light rail stage 2B and to consider alternatives.
DRA believes that the new line will be too slow, – taking twice as long as existing bus services, locks the ACT into outmoded single-track technology and makes it impossible to maintain an express service from Civic to Woden such as the one that currently operates.
Light Rail construction will be severely disruptive – requiring several new bridges including one over the Lake Burley Griffin that will take years to complete. It will cause more pollution than is ever likely to be saved, and it will damage major heritage and scenic values of the Parliamentary Zone.
The first stage of light rail Gungahlin to Civic has been successful. Our case is that the reasons for this success do not apply to Stage II. There are a few opportunities for infill and land sales to offset its costs which are very much larger.
Also on our website is a video report of a meeting in October 2021 that Deakin Residents Association organised. In it we consider in more detail the transport, economics, heritage, and environmental damage caused by the Light Rail Project.
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