The ACT Government committed to light rail in 2012. The construction cost of stage one - a 12 km route from the City to Gungahlin - is $707 million.
The second phase, currently subject to community engagement, links Gungahlin to Woden through the heart of Canberra's city centre.
According to Colliers, there was a lack of engagement with commercial property owners – particularly those on Northbourne Avenue and Flemington Road – so they have conducted a survey in order to get their feedback on Canberra’s light rail and how this may impact commercial property in the short, medium and long term.
Colliers' ACT Light Rail Survey revealed that commercial property owners believe the establishment of this major infrastructure project is likely to provide a significant economic boost to local business, employment and encourage further investment into the CBD and ACT region from interstate and offshore groups.
Colliers International Manager Matthew Winter said while there was strong consensus amongst owners of the benefits, they noted concerns about the long-term viability of the project given that newer technologies may supersede light rail once construction of the entire network is completed.
Timing of the project has been heavily debated, with varying options on when to introduce the next stages and which town centres should be priorities.
“Despite not necessarily supporting the proposed technology, half the owners surveyed said now is the right time for light rail to be implemented and indicated the project would serve as a catalyst to reinvigorate tired gateways," Winter said.
“Owners indicated the light rail network should expand from CBD to Woden next (33%) and Canberra Airport (30%).
Almost half the owners surveyed felt the light rail would have little to no impact on traffic congestion, a fundamental objective of the infrastructure project.
They believe Canberrans will use light rail to commute to and from work, assuming the stops were near office locations and viable "Park and Ride" solutions are provided by the ACT Government.
Owners showed concern with the lack of information available about transit times and fares, which may cause passengers to commute by car, finding it a cheaper and more direct option, despite traffic congestion.
“Overwhelmingly, owners believe light rail will improve the value of their property," Winter said.
“This seems to support the notion that further amenity and infrastructure along the corridor will have a positive benefit for owners through improved tenant retention, increased accessibility, and provide a solution to the current parking shortage, particularly in areas such as Braddon.”
“Given the strategic land release programme of the ACT Government along Northbourne Avenue and Flemington Road, many owners noted the likely demand from developers for these opportunities and had investigated possible options," he said.