The prospect of Melbourne-style trams in Wellington has survived the latest selection process for deciding how to combat the capital's transport gridlock but faces an uphill battle to overcome more favoured rivals.
The Wellington City Council, regional council and the New Zealand Transport Agency have whittled eight possible solutions down to a shortlist of three.
They are: light rail; large, faster buses - possibly with purpose-built roads; and squeezing more buses on existing roads while giving them favourable treatment through traffic control.
Wellington mayor Celia Wade Brown has long championed light rail, but thinks it might have to be deferred in favour of more buses.
The Transport Agency would fund the lion's share of the project and has warned of the high cost of light rail.
The final choice will be known next year.