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Light rail will benefit all Canberrans: project director

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Light rail will benefit all of Canberra, according to the woman entrusted with making the first stage of the Capital Metro network a reality.

Emma Thomas began work as Capital Metro project director last month, having previously held senior transport roles in South Australia and Queensland.

Ms Thomas said that when she first read about the Capital Metro she immediately decided  she wanted to be involved in some capacity.

‘‘I just thought it was just a really progressive solution for Canberra,’’ she  said.

‘‘Cities that you visit around the world that have light rail just seem so forward-thinking and progressive. So to do something like this in the nation’s capital is just so exciting.’’

Stage one of the Capital Metro will run between Civic and Gungahlin, but Ms Thomas said it would benefit the entire city as it created jobs and  economic energy in the CBD.


‘‘Part of the benefits of [light rail systems]  is that they really create economic energy around parts of the city,’’ she said.

 ‘‘I think everyone in Canberra would like to see the economic energy particularly lifted in Civic and what benefits that will bring to the city as a whole.’’ Construction work on stage one is due to begin in 2016.

Ms Thomas said there would be opportunities for the  public to get  involved in discussions on where the next stage of the network should be built.

She  was due to attend a meeting of the Gungahlin Community Council on Wednesday night as part of consultations on how the system will operate.

‘‘We’ve started the integration study, which is an early study to look at how people might interact with their light rail and what the community’s preferences are within particular locations,’’ she said.

Ms Thomas said the project was still in an early planning phase. ‘‘We need to do some detailed economic analysis, we need to do some early design analysis, we need to look at our major risks for the project.’’

Ms Thomas had previously served as rail commissioner and deputy chief executive of public transport in South Australia.