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July 31, 2009

Nottingham LRT Phase 2 moves forward

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BRITAIN'S Department for Transport (DfT) has approved a £530.7 million funding package for the Phase 2 expansion of the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) light rail network.
The project involves the construction of two lines serving the south and west of the city. The 9.8km western line will run from the existing terminus at Station Street to Queen's Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, and Beeston to a park-and-ride terminus at Toton Lane. It is expected to carry 5.1 million passengers a year.
The 7.6km southern line will also begin at Station Street, running through The Meadows and Wilford to Clifton. A park-and-ride station will be built at Clifton to relieve the congested A453 highway, and the line is expected to carry 3.9 million passengers per year.
Both lines will cross the city's main railway station by means of a new bridge, which will be built as part of a £67 million redevelopment of the station. Construction will begin on both lines in 2011 and will take three years to complete.
DfT has allocated Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits worth £530.7 million for Phase 2, and the city council will fund the remaining £149.5 million. A funding gap opened recently when Nottinghamshire County Council withdrew its support for the project, although DfT has allocated an additional £13 million in PFI credits, and says it is confident the city council can find the remaining £20 million. NCC plans to introduce a workplace parking levy from 2012 in order to finance its share of the project.
Nottingham opened its first light rail line from Station Street to Hucknall and Phoenix Park in 2004. The project cost £200 million, £174 million of which came from government PFI credits.

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