The federal government recently announced that it will provide additional funds to expedite the construction of the Penang Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, Bernama reports. According to prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the previous government had not provided enough funds for the project for several years.
“I had a discussion with the minister of transport yesterday (Friday, May 5), and I will also hold a discussion with the state government in the next one or two weeks to find a suitable approach to bear the high cost of LRT construction,” he said, adding the project is expected to ease traffic congestion in the state.
“We have LRT, MRT and monorail in the Klang Valley… why can’t we introduce it to the second largest city in our country,” Anwar went on to say.
The LRT project is part of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) and will connect Bayan Lepas to Komtar. Prior to Anwar’s announcement, the proposed Bayan Lepas line is estimated to cost RM9.5 billion and will measure 26.8 km, serving 23 stations on the eastern side of the island from Komtar in Georgetown to Bayan Lepas, The Star reported.
The PTMP revealed in 2016 also includes a Georgetown-Butterworth LRT line connecting the island to the mainland, along with a tram system in Georgetown as well as a few monorail lines.
Transport minister Anthony Loke added that the federal government has made a decision in principle to implement the Penang LRT project. “The federal government is ready to finance this project, but the financing model and mechanism need to be discussed in detailed… whether through funds from development or off budget or the financing method through PPP (public-private partnership), we need further details,” he explained.
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