The Daily Telegraph reports that cabinet is expected to make a decision on light rail when it meets next week. The light rail issue had already been before cabinet twice before heading into a cabinet meeting again last week. Light rail is expected to be split into two stages: stage one from the University of NSW to Central Station, and stage two from Central Station to Circular Quay via George Street.
Stage one has been almost a certainty ever since it received the endorsement of both Transport for NSW and Infrastructure NSW, and will be built first.
There remains some uncertainty over whether or even when stage two, the George St light rail, will be built, though the Telegraph states that the Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian “is understood to be winning the argument” on building light rail between Central and Circular Quay. The two major arguments made against stage two have been the cost and the disruption to CBD streets during the construction phase. The latter was particularly problematic given that the disruption would occur at the height of the next state election, and it is for this reason that construction of light rail on George St will not begin until after the 2015 election.
The final version of the transport masterplan is to be released this month, in which all the recommendations from Infrastructure NSW will have been considered and then either adopted or rejected. Other things to look out for when this report is released are the fates of the BRT tunnel under the CBD and a second Harbour rail crossing.