Questions raised as Newcastle CBD light rail route forges ahead

The route includes a Wickham transport interchange and a rail corridor to the beach through Hunter and Scott streets.

The route includes a Wickham transport interchange and a rail corridor to the beach through Hunter and Scott streets.

THE Newcastle community is calling for more details to be released after the state government's announced the light rail route for Newcastle's CBD.

Late last week the state government's infrastructure sub-committee signed off on the route, which included a Wickham transport interchange and a rail corridor to the beach through Hunter and Scott streets, but bypassed Hunter Street mall.

The state government initially proposed the hybrid route just before the community consultation period started, claiming it would cost less than the Hunter Street option and better connect the community to the civic precinct.

But the project costings and timetable details are scarce.

The government has indicated the cost of the light rail project would still fall within the $460 million planned, with $340 million of the project funds coming from the $1.75 billion lease of Newcastle Port.

The state government previously stated work on the light rail project would start by December.

A spokesperson for Newcastle state MP Tim Owen's office said information about future bus and train timetables was not available.

Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery said all the government had done was release a map with a line drawn on it.

"It's obvious that the hurried announcement has been made as a diversion from other problems the government is facing in the Hunter," she said.

"That is why there are no detailed costings or a timetable for a start date.

"We have seen cost blowouts when major infrastructure is rushed into and we are seeing this government rushing this plan so it can be seen as doing something after three years of inaction."

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