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THE NSW Transport Minister, David Campbell, has caved in to Sydney's Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, and agreed to investigate a light rail through the city centre.
His concession will alarm officials pushing for the controversial CBD Metro because if the study finds light rail is viable, it would undermine the case for the $5.3 billion metro.
Less than fortnight after ruling out the light rail plan, Mr Campbell yesterday said he would examine a loop up George Street and down Hickson Road via the new development at Barangaroo.
Ms Moore had threatened to pull out of a study into the extension of the light rail network after the Government refused to extend its terms of reference to include the inner-city loop. But yesterday a new tender proposal that includes the George Street route was released.
But Mr Campbell warned inner-city councils against more delays to the study after he agreed to their demands. ''I want an outcome and for that reason the Government will co-operate with the councils and include the George Street loop in the study,'' he said. ''This will delay the process while an expanded request for proposals is developed and resubmitted. It's important that the councils come on board and assist us to get on with the job now and not allow any further delay.''
His concession came as inner-western councils began considering a plan that would reserve a key stretch of the light rail corridor between Dulwich Hill and Summer Hill for a cycleway.
Tonight Ashfield and Marrickville councils will examine a ''master plan and co-ordination strategy'' by Bruce Ashley and 11 others for a ''greenway'', which would incorporate cycling and walking tracks between the Cooks River and the Iron Cove Bridge.
Light rail supporters, including the EcoTransit advocacy group, are worried about the plan after Marrickville Council found that allowing the ''greenway'' would force the light rail on to a single track, cutting services to 15-minute intervals.
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