The New South Wales government has settled a legal dispute with the consortium building Sydney's light rail project, agreeing to a $576 million payout.
Following a year of legal disputes with ALTRAC Light Rail consortium and its subcontractors, Alstom, Spanish builder Acciona and Transdev, the settlement deal takes the total cost of the troubled project to more than $2.7 billion.
The 12.7 kilometre line was originally forecast to cost around $1.6 billion when announced in 2012.
The agreement, which was announced on Monday, will see the light rail services commence in two stages.
A target start date is set for December this year for the first passenger service between Randwick and Circular Quay, and March 2020 for services between Kingsford and Circular Quay.
The NSW government says the settlement includes the resolution of more than $1.5 billion of legal claims under the public private partnership with ALTRAC.
Separately, Acciona has agreed to withdraw its $1.1 billion legal claim lodged in the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
“If ALTRAC and its subcontractors do not deliver by these dates, they miss out on making revenue from commencing services as well as incentive payments,” a spokesperson for NSW Transport said.
“The final cost of the project will therefore not be known until passenger services start and following a final completion review by Infrastructure NSW, as is standard practice.”
State government will fork out the $576 million sum over the duration of an extended public-private partnership term to 2036.
As for progression of the Sydney light rail project, tram testing between Randwick terminus and the Central Chalmers Street stop commenced this year.
While in the coming months tram testing will expand into the CBD, followed by Kensington and Kingsford.
Plans for the transport infrastructure will see the CBD South East Light Rail line span 12 kilometres from Circular Quay to Sydney’s south eastern suburbs.