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A CITY-Port tram line, possibly running down the Port Rd median strip, will be one of the big ticket items in the June 5 budget, the Portside Messenger has heard. Port Adelaide Enfield mayor Gary Johanson says he is "reasonably confident" of securing funding for the light rail project while Opposition transport spokesman Duncan McFetridge also believes a funding announcement is imminent.
"We're hearing rumours the Government is going to announce something in the upcoming budget," Mr McFetridge said. He said electrification of the entire rail system was a "no brainer" and the Opposition would support the Port light rail plan, subject to examining the finer details. Port Adelaide Enfield Council first proposed the tram line idea in 2006 and submitted a $224 million concept plan to the State Government. It included running a tram extension along Semaphore Rd.
Mr Johanson said he would prefer a tram line to run along the Port Rd median strip and then through Commercial Rd, Port Adelaide, rather than following the existing Outer Harbor rail line. "It's a dearer option but it's a safer option," he said, adding that people would feel safer using a tram line in full public view.
Last week the Portside Messenger reported the Property Council of Australia had backed converting the Outer Harbor line to light rail. The Rann Government has stated several times it is interested in the idea but remains non-committal.
Last December, Deputy Premier Kevin Foley said $1.5 billion would be spent upgrading Adelaide's ageing rail system but the details have yet to be released. Transport Minister Pat Conlon's spokesman Matt Clemow told the Portside Messenger this week the State Government would not be commenting on budget issues. Mr Johanson said it was unlikely the council would contribute significant funds towards the project. "I don't see that councils would necessarily pay for public transport," he said.
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