GEORGE TOWN: Funding options for pending mega projects here may see a change now that Pakatan Harapan is the Federal Government.
There is even a possibility that the proposed Penang Undersea Tunnel will be made toll-free to mirror the pre-election promise of making Penang Bridge toll-free.
Incoming Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state would relook the funding options for projects such as the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
“If the Federal Government is willing to support us, of course, we will look at alternative funding options. But right now, it is too premature to say,” he said here yesterday.
He was responding to a question whether Penangites could expect federal funding for the PTMP instead of sticking to the planned method of reclaiming islands off the south of Penang island.
Penang Undersea Tunnel project contractor, Consortium Zenith Construction senior executive director Datuk Lee Chee Hoe, said he welcomed the possibility of alternative funding instead of getting reclaimed land as payment in kind.
“We are willing to accept it. We need to talk to the new chief minister and get instructions.
“We are also ready to make the tunnel toll-free because the state had promised to make Penang Bridge toll-free if Pakatan wins.
“If Chow wants it, we will work on it,” he said.
Initially, the proposed tunnel was to follow the toll rate of the second link, the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge.
Former chief minister Lim Guan Eng had pledged to abolish the Penang Bridge toll collection, which had been extended until 2038.
Lee said he also expected the construction of the three paired roads, which were part of the tunnel project, to begin soon “since everything was in order and just waiting for federal approval”.
The three paired roads had already been paid for with a combination of existing and reclaimed land.
Szeto Wai Leong, the project director of SRS Consortium, the project delivery partner of PTMP, welcomed the possibility of federal funding.
The state was prepared to grant the reclamation of two new islands – 930ha and 566ha – in the south to fund PTMP.
“With federal funding, things will move quickly,” he said.
SRS Consortium is a subsidiary of Gamuda, which is also the project delivery partner of the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project worth about RM40bil.