A majority of Canberrans support the extension of the ACT's light rail to Woden, new polling from the Australia Institute has revealed.
Overall, 63 per cent of people surveyed supported the project. Of those 41.2 per cent expressed strong support.
However, more than half of Liberal voters in the territory opposed the extension with only 44 per cent in favour. Thirty six per cent of Liberal voters expressed strong opposition to the project.
Greens voters are the most likely to support light rail, with 57.1 per cent indicating strong support for the project.
Of Labor voters, 52.7 per cent voiced strong support.
But 16.2 per cent of Labor voters and 16.6 per cent of Greens voters were strongly opposed to the project.
Younger people were more likely to support the project, with 64.6 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds in favour. In the over-65 age group only 51.1 per cent of people indicated support and 25.9 per cent were strongly opposed to the project.
The Australia Institute, a Canberra-based independent think-tank, polled 1057 people on their views on the light rail on the night of August 3.
Respondents were asked what party they voted for, their age and gender and the level of support for the project. Respondents could choose from five options: "strongly support", "support", "oppose", "strongly oppose" and "unsure/ don't know".
The Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said the poll's results showed people supported large infrastructure programs.
"Despite a prevailing ideology that has often run down the notion of a strong public sector, these results suggest there is an appetite for ambitious government infrastructure programs," Mr Oquist said.
"Given the divisive debate at previous elections it also shows leadership in big political debates matters.
"However, the light rail construction phase will be disruptive, so it will be important to see how support holds up."
Light rail has been a contentious issue in the ACT. Labor took the plan to build a network from Gungahlin to the city centre in the 2016 election, which the Liberals heavily campaigned against.
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Following its win, Labor moved promptly to get construction underway on the project, which was completed in 2019. An extension to Woden was always planned for the second stage.
The light rail extension to Woden could cost almost $2 billion.
Since the 2016 election, the Canberra Liberals have eased their opposition to light rail, however, they were highly critical of modelling that showed traffic capacity on Commonwealth Avenue would decrease by 80 per cent during its construction.
The first stage of the ACT government's light rail extension to Woden was approved earlier this year. This will see the extension of the network from Alinga Street to Commonwealth Park.
Early works on this stage of the project are expected to start this year.
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