The first stage of Canberra’s light rail network will be delivered by a world-class consortium, Canberra Metro, sooner and with a capital cost lower than earlier estimated, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Capital Metro Simon Corbell have announced.
The 12 kilometre Gungahlin tram will cost $698 million, plus or minus $35 million, the ACT government announced today, with Canberra Metro at the helm of building and operating the line from Gungahlin to the City (Stage 1). The winning consortium, comprising of Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, Deutsche Bahn International and CAF has more than 220 years of combined experience in systems engineering, light rail operations and maintenance, and providing 2.2 billion passenger journeys each year across 14 countries.
Between them they will deliver on 12km of light rail track, 13 stops, 14 light rail vehicles, a depot and 20 years of operation and maintenance.
Light rail will operate from as early as 6am and up to 1am with services every 6 minutes during peak times. It will integrate with buses and other forms of transport to provide an efficient service that will change the way Canberrans move around their city.
While the final cost will be confirmed when contracts are signed, the capital cost included in the winning bid is $698 million, with a variance of 5 per cent depending on contract negotiations and changes in market conditions between now and contract closure.
Additionally, Canberra Metro will complete construction in late 2018 and begin operations in early 2019. This is sooner than previous estimates and means less disruption for Canberrans and faster access to the transformational effects of this city changing project.
The price is cheaper than the government's estimated $783 million and the construction timetable is shorter, with work to begin midway through this year and trams expected to begin taking passengers in early 2019.
The Canberra Metro consortium beat out a consortium led by Downer EDI and including Bombardier and Keolis Downer, Australia's biggest operator of trams, including Melbourne's network.
Capital Metro Minister Simon Corbell would not say whether Canberra Metro's $698 million bid was cheaper than the other bid, but said it was the "most competitive", with other factors than price taken into account.
Nor would Mr Corbell say how much the consortium would be paid each year for the 20-year term of the contract, beyond saying it would be "considerably cheaper" than the $80-$100 million figure suggested by commentators. The amount would be confirmed in detailed contract negotiations in the coming months.
Mr Corbell confirmed the consortium would be paid a lump sum when construction was complete, in line with the budgeted figure of $375 million.
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Author's Note: This information originally appeared in the Canberra Times.