Komtar-Bayan Lepas LRT line seen generating RM2bil jobs

GEORGE TOWN: The LRT line linking Komtar and Bayan Lepas, estimated to cost around RM7bil to construct, is expected to generate about RM2bil worth of jobs for the local construction industry, said Penang Master Builders and Building Materials Dealers Association.

Its president, Datuk Lim Kai Seng, said the first phase of the LRT, which involved soil investigation and alignment studies, had already generated about RM100mil worth of jobs for the local construction industry.

The proposed 30km LRT project will cushion property prices in Penang, according to Real Estate & Housing Developers Association (Penang) past chairman Datuk Jerry Chan.

“Although the volume of transactions has declined by about 30% in the first quarter compared to the previous year’s corresponding period, the price of properties, however, has not been affected yet by the decline, due to interest rates remaining at the same level, and high land and building construction costs.

“The other factor that will help to bolster property prices in Penang is the proposed LRT project. The project will definitely help (hold up) the property prices in areas where there is a high density.

“In popular areas of the island where properties are sought after, we will see prices moving up due to the accessibility of the LRT over time,” Chan said.

Zeon Properties Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Leon Lee said that the price of properties near integrated transportation systems in other countries was either stable or tend to move upwards most of the time.

He said infrastructure such as transportation centres and bridges were vital elements.

“The completion of a bridge connecting Shenzhen (China) and the New Territories of Hong Kong resulted in property prices in the surrounding areas escalating by about 155% over a period of 10 years.

“In 2002, the property price in New Territories of Hong Kong was about HK$2,742.69 per sq ft.

“It shot up to HK$7,007.38 per sq ft in 2013, which took only about 10 years,” Lee said.

Lee added that the price of property in Batu Maung had increased significantly when the second Penang bridge open.

“In 2007, a terrace house in Batu Maung was worth about RM700,000. A similar unit now is priced at RM1.4mil. This proves my earlier point (about bridges),” he said.

The Komtar-Bayan Lepas LRT is the state’s first rail network proposed under the RM27bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

It will begin from Komtar in the northeast corner of the island and pass through Jelutong, Gelugor, Bayan Lepas and Penang International Airport before ending at the proposed Penang South Reclamation development. It is expected to provide a fast route to the airport and will traverse densely populated residential, commercial and industrial areas.

There are 27 LRT stations along the alignment, with the maintenance depot located on the first island that is to be reclaimed on the island’s south coast. The alignment also factors in interchanges with future LRT, Sky Cab and monorail lines that are being planned, including one that will cross the channel to connect Gelugor with Penang Sentral in Butterworth.

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