Canberra Metro wins contract to build Canberra Light Rail.

Canberra Metro Consortium was one of two shortlisted contenders for the Canberra Light Rail project. Up against the ACTivate Group, Canberra Metro was able to successfully secure the $698 million contract for the Gungahlin-city rail line.

Canberra Metro Consortium is comprised of Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, Deutsche Bahn International and CAF. Pacific Partnerships and CPB Contractors are both CIMIC companies.

The line between Gungahlin and the city centre is the initial phase of the Canberra light rail network, and will stretch for 12km. It will boast 13 stations and is expected to be one of the city's most important transport infrastructure projects moving forward into the century.

Construction is expected to be complete in late 2018, with the first passenger runs expected in early 2019. This timeline, earlier than initial projections, is thought to have contributed to Canberra Metro's ability to win the contract due to the reduced impact on locals. Capital Metro Minister, Simon Corbell, said "[the reduced timeline] means less disruption for Canberrans and faster access to the transformational effects of this city-changing project."

The other shortlisted candidate for the project, ACTivate Group, was led by our mates at Downer EDI.

The consortium has received license for maintenance and operation of the line for two decades. This will include a road, depot and signalling operations. The contract for construction contains a 5% variance, which is dependent on final negotiations and adjustments to the market prior to finalisation of the contract.

ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, anticipates that the Canberra light rail will contribute over $1 billion of value to the Canberra economy. The second stage of the project, which will link the city centre to Russell, is yet to secure funding. Mr Barr said, "I met with the Prime Minister late last year and following the meeting he has invited the ACT Government to seek federal funding for the Russell extension."

Transport spokesman for the Canberra Liberals (in opposition), Alistair Coe, made strong requests for a termination clause to be included in the contract. Mr Coe, said "if we're going to have a billion dollars of tax payers' money spent, it should be put to the people in an election." This whole 'cancel-the-contracts' rhetoric is getting really tedious. If I had a dollar every-time an opposition leader threatened to cancel a major construction contract and set fire to hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars and thwart progress, I'd have more and more extra dollars. It makes us SO MAD here at iSeekplant. This cannot be the latest political fad. It will kill progress in this country. Pull your head in, Coe.


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Sources: ABC News, International Railway Journal, The Australian.

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