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The NSW government will look at extending Canberra's light rail to Queanbeyan, as part of its next 10 years of transport planning.
The Berejiklian government released its Future Transport 2056 report on Sunday, outlining the next 40 years of state-wide transport infrastructure.
The report suggests state government investment will be increasingly focused on "three cities", built around the existing CBD, greater Parramatta and Western Sydney Airport, where commuters could walk, cycle or ride public transport to work within half an hour.
But it also flagged the government's intent to start looking at extending Canberra's light rail to Queanbeyan in the next decade .
"Canberra, supported by Queanbeyan, is a significant global gateway city. We are working with stakeholders in both NSW and ACT on improving transport connections between Canberra and the the South East and Tablelands," an excerpt said.
The strategy also earmarked a corridor between Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne for a future high-speed rail link.
It said NSW would investigate harmonising cross-border fares and licensing for roads and maritime, and look at straightening the track to speed up the train trip between Sydney and Canberra.
A Transport NSW spokesman would not say which routes were being looked at for the extension, but stated: "All initiatives outlined in Future Transport 2056 are subject to business cases and funding."
It's not the first time a light rail route between Queanbeyan and Canberra has been discussed.
In 2015, then ACT minister assisting the Chief Minister on transport reform, Shane Rattenbury ruled out a Queanbeyan extension until the Canberra-wide rollout was completed.
ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris on Tuesday reiterated the government would prioritise "local connections" to Woden, Belconnen, Tuggeranong, Molonglo Valley, the Airport and Fyshwick before looking to Queanbeyan.
"The ACT government is committed to building a light rail network plan for Canberra, with stage one from Gungahlin to Civic on track to be completed later this year, and stage two from Civic to Woden now in the planning phase," Ms Fitzharris said.
"The light rail network plan does point out that future eastern links could include a park and ride facility to encourage commuters from Queanbeyan who travel into Canberra for work or education, to park their car and use the light rail network."
Queanbeyan-Palerang mayor Tim Overall said there were "significant" issues with transport between Canberra and Queanbeyan, and the cross-border commissioner was currently examining whether there could be equalisation with ACTION buses.
"Around 60 per cent of Queanbeyan residents work in Canberra and about 4500 Canberrans work in Queanbeyan," Mr Overall said.
"A significant number of the Queanbeyan workforce work in the vicinity of the defence quarter and also at the Brindabella Business Park.
"Certainly with the growth of the Googong township from 2500 to 17,000-18,000 in the next 10-12 years, the demand for improved public transport links including light rail is justified financially."
This article first appeared on www.canberratimes.com.au
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