THE Penang government is sticking firmly to its plan to construct an elevated light rail transit (LRT) system on the island while rejecting the Land Public Transport Commission’s (SPAD) suggestion for a tram system instead.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the tram system was not suitable for the state as it would increase traffic volume on the roads which will further aggravate the congestion.
“Therefore, we reject SPAD’s proposal and we will build the LRT system as contained in the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
“The matter was voiced out during a meeting held between the state government, Transport Minister Anthony Loke andSPAD recently,” he told reporters.
Chow was speaking after handing over cheques to students who registered to join institutes of higher learning at theDewan Milenium in Kepala Batas on Friday.
Chow said the state managed to convince the minister and also SPAD that the elevated LRT system would be more suitable for the island.
“We also explained to SPAD why the tram system was not suitable and they accepted our views.
“However, they voiced out on technical issues like the train depot area which will be located after the last station when the LRT is built later.”
Also present were Deputy Chief Minister 1 Datuk Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy and state executive councillors Chong Eng and Phee Boon Poh.
Chow added that SPAD suggested the depot, which was initially proposed to be on a man-made island, be moved to a location near the last station which will be the Penang International Airport.
“SPAD thinks the depot needs to be moved because the man-made island has yet to obtain an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report.
“We are now making amendments to the depot’s location to be submitted to SPAD within a month,” he said.
On Sept 6, Loke, who was on a working visit to Penang, had said the LRT might not be the best mode of transport for the island and that there should be other options available.
“While the Federal Government fully supports the state’s proposal, there should be options for the state to choose from.
“Our studies by SPAD showed that there could be better models which the state could look into,” he said.
Chow urged Penangites to be patient as the state government needed to comply with the law and get approval from various agencies before the LRT system could be built.
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