There are high hopes for a fast-approaching and more modern city of Newcastle, following the end of the long-running public transport debate.

The announcement came in the budget with the government planning to spend $340 million dollars to revitalise the CBD and replace heavy rail with light rail from Wickham to Newcastle.

NSW Property Council Regional Director Andrew Fletcher says it’s the start of Newcastle being a magnet for private investment.

“It caught many of us by surprise actually, the announcement of the budget was bigger and better than most expected…the 99 year lease of the port will free up capital that the government badly needs to use on infrastructure projects.”

Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Jeff McCloy says light-rail coming into the city is a marvellous benefit for the city.

“The number of enquires that has generated… is really quite large. The number of shop-front owners that have applied to do their shop-front up, particularly in Hunter Street, is incredibly encouraging. All in all I think the city’s on the up and we should be in for a very bright future.”