After grave doubts about whether a light rail network should be built in Canberra, the Liberal Party has now questioned whether the ACT government will lay the first tram tracks in the most appropriate part of the city.
The first stage of the government's Capital Metro system will run from Civic down Northbourne Avenue and then along Flemington Road to Gungahlin.
Opposition transport spokesman Alistair Coe has raised concerns about whether the government adequately considered other alternatives to the Civic/Gungahlin line.
Mr Coe said a line that ran from Belconnen to the University of Canberra, Calvary Hospital, the ANU, Civic, Constitution Avenue and the airport would be the busiest part of a light rail network.
"You look at what it does include … the four biggest educational campuses that we have, the city and Belconnen, the airport and Defence,'' he said.
Mr Coe also wanted to know whether the government had considered a light rail route that linked Tuggeranong, Woden and the city.
The Canberra Airport this week suggested that the Capital Metro be extended to loop through the parliamentary triangle and to the airport.
Mr Coe stressed that the Liberal Party did not necessarily support light rail.
"The opportunity cost of spending $600 million on a light rail project to Gungahlin is $600 million not spent on another light rail project, $600 million not spent on the hospital, or $600 million that's not returned to taxpayers,'' he said.
"The point of this is to help people to comprehend that there are options on the table, both in the light rail space but also with regards to tax cuts or other government expenditure.''
Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell said Mr Coe appeared to want a light rail line in his electorate of Ginninderra, which includes Belconnen.
"The Brindabella MLAs say it should be down there, the Belconnen Liberal MLAs say it should be in Belconnen. I'm pleased to see they're keen to see light rail built,'' Mr Corbell said.
"In fact, I would take Alistair Coe's suggestion today as a demonstration that the Liberals changed their position and now support light rail for Canberra.''
Mr Corbell said it made sense to build stage one of the Capital Metro between Civic and Gungahlin because the Northbourne Avenue corridor was the most congested part of the ACT road network.
"Northbourne Avenue is at capacity right now,'' he said.
"The Northbourne Avenue corridor is projected to have the highest rate of population increase of any part of the city. So, when it comes to traffic congestion and when it comes to population growth, this corridor must be the highest priority because of those factors.''
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