Releasing details of the business case, Ms Berejiklian welcomed the fact the project would not only provide a reliable, high capacity new public transport option, but also bring thousands of jobs and economic benefits.
"The majority of benefit will be to public transport customers - light rail will play a crucial role in addressing the significant congestion challenges we face in Sydney," Ms Berejiklian said.
"The project will deliver 10,000 jobs during construction and operation and will be implemented with a redesigned bus network which will reduce the number of buses clogging CBD streets by up to 220 buses an hour – that will also help customers coming into the city on buses from the west and north."
An economic appraisal of the project found that light rail would deliver more than $2 billion in benefits for public transport users, $264 million for road users and environmental and social benefits worth $308 million.
Light rail will be able to carry up to 9000 people per hour in each direction, with additional high capacity services to cater for major events at the SCG, Sydney Football Stadium and Randwick Racecourse.
Five MOUs have now been signed with key stakeholders including the City of Sydney Council, Randwick City Council, University of NSW, Centennial Parklands and the Australian Turf Club, Ms Berejiklian said.
"I'm pleased with the support for the project from these key stakeholders, who recognise the benefits it will bring to Sydney in terms of relieving congestion and supporting major health, education, sporting, business and cultural precincts."
Subject to planning approval, work on the $1.6 billion CBD and South East Light Rail project is expected to start in 2014 and will take five to six years to complete.
The 12km light rail project will link Circular Quay and Central, the Moore Park sporting and entertainment precinct including the Sydney Cricket Ground and football stadium, Randwick Racecourse, the University of NSW and Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick.
Feedback sought on environmental impact statement (EIS)
The EIS outlines the key features of the light rail project and assesses its potential environmental impacts during construction and operation. Importantly, it also outlines recommended measures to minimise and manage any potential impacts. To view the EIS and make a submission visit the Department of Planning and Infrastructure. The EIS is on public exhibition from 14 November to 16 December.
Light Rail Community Information Centre now open
Neighbourhood information sessions
The community, business and other stakeholders are invited to find out more about this major transport project at information sessions set to be held in neighbourhoods along the proposed light rail route.
Eastern Suburbs Masonic Centre
199 Anzac Parade, Kensington
Saturday 23 November, 10am – 2pm
Macquarie Street, Sydney
Tuesday 26 November, 4pm – 8pm
Randwick Town Hall
Corner Avoca and Frances streets, Randwick
Saturday 30 November, 10am – 2pm
Sydney Boys High School
Gate 9, Anzac Parade, Moore Park
Thursday 5 December, 4pm – 8pm
Surry Hills Library
405 Crown Street, Surry Hills
Tuesday 10 December, 4pm – 8pm