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Friday June 18, 2010

Cost of rail projects may top RM50bil

The figure is inclusive of LRT extension and proposed MRT

PETALING JAYA: The total bill for rail-based public transport improvements in the Klang Valley, including the ambitious mass rapid transit (MRT), could top RM50bil, reliable sources said.

The RM50bil is inclusive of the confirmed RM7bil light rail transit (LRT) extension projects. The other RM43bil is for the recently proposed MRT project.

Sources said that of the RM43bil, RM36bil was for the construction (including tunnelling works) and design of the MRT, RM2bil for land acquisition, RM3bil for rolling stock and RM2bil for developing an underground commercial space.

Rolling stock comprises all the vehicles that move on a railway.

Gamuda Bhd and MMC Corp Bhd presented a joint MRT proposal to the Government in January.

“The proposal now is at the National Economic Action Council level and is expected to be presented to the Cabinet in two to three weeks.

“The MRT proposal network has three major lines or routes from Damansara to Serdang and Kepong to Cheras – where both lines will converge in the middle of the city centre.

“Additionally, there will also be a crucial line that will tie up all the network connectivity circling the city centre,” the sources told StarBiz.

City centre covers important areas such as Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Platinum Felda, Pasar Rakyat and Raja Chulan.

The sources said Kuala Lumpur was lagging behind in terms of rail benchmarking compared with its regional counterparts such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

“Kuala Lumpur’s rail network is only 15km per one million population, while most other cities are over 40km per one million people.

“Thus, we need another 150km to be at par with the other cities and this is where the proposed MRT system will come in.

“The proposal also indicates the MRT system would result in a three-fold increase in rail network and a five-fold increase in ridership in line with the public transport target of 40% by 2020 from 18% in 2009,” the sources said.

This will translate to two million trips per day in 2020 using the rail network from 400,000 trips per day currently.

During the 10th Malaysia Plan period, the Government will improve the liveability of cities and has identified major initiatives under the national key result areas, particularly to address crime and improve public transportation in urban areas.

The Greater KL has been identified as a new key economic area and initiatives are under way, including the proposed MRT system, to transform it into a leading global city.

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