The Property Council has welcomed the Government’s budget announcements on Newcastle Light Rail but cautioned that Newcastle’s trams should wear Newcastle colours.
Hunter Director, Andrew Fletcher, said the $142 million budget allocation showed the Baird Government was keeping its promise of record transport infrastructure for the city.
He said other aspects of the budget also showed the Government was listening to feedback from industry groups like the Property Council and individual members of the community.
“In our recent submission and in discussions with the Transport Minister, we’ve been unequivocal about the need for light rail tracks to be installed level with the surrounding surface.”
“We weren’t the only ones warning Government that any proposal for a raised kerb to support separated running in Hunter Street would meet vehement opposition”
“But the Property Council was the lone voice supporting separated running as the best model for promoting service reliability and safety”
“The industry policy was based on extensive research and benchmarking world’s best practice, so its great news that Newcastle is getting the gold-plated solution.”
Mr. Fletcher said it was also a smart piece of business from Government to be involving the private sector in planning and operating the network.
“That already happens across Australia with individual modes of transport, but the historic difference for Newcastle will be the integration of bus, ferry and light rail services under the one service contract.”
“A strong focus on interchange and multi-modal integration could see Transport for Newcastle become the model to which other Australian cities aspire”
The Treasurer’s announcement that an order has been placed for Newcastle’s light rail fleet was also welcomed, but came with a word of warning.
Mr Fletcher said it was critical that Newcastle’s light rail vehicles were not Sydney clones.
“They must have their own identity to become part of the city’s brand and how Newcastle projects itself to the Asia-Pacific.”
Mr Fletcher referred to the colourful rainbow trams of Angers in France and the futuristic trams of nearby Tours as being instantly recognisable and part of the city’s fabric.
“Why not run a design competition and let Novocastrians decide what Newcastle’s trams will look like?”
Media contact: Andrew Fletcher | M 0407 410 017| E [email protected]