GEORGE TOWN: The tram system is not practical for Penang as the roads are not wide enough to cater to both vehicles and trams.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said it had been explained that the system was not selected as the whole road would be occupied by trams.
“Is this what you want to see in Penang? A tram replacing all the roads?
“This is why the elevated highway (under the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP)) is preferred as it is built above and most of the pillars are built in the median of the road, so we can still keep the existing number of lanes.
“We have taken all this into consideration,” he said during the question and answer session after his live broadcast announcement for Penangites here yesterday.
Chow was responding to former city councillor and historian Khoo Salma Nasution’s question if the state government could review PTMP for environmental and economic reasons, citing that it would be much cheaper to get a comprehensive public transport master plan of seven tram lines and the Bus Rapid Transit system.
Chow said the state was not entirely against the tram system and that it could come in future phases.
“Now, we want to focus on the Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT) to Komtar without having to look at acquisition cost.
“The Halcrow Report is just a broad concept master plan without detailed design consideration and a basic estimate which did not include land acquisition cost,” he said, slamming local non-governmental organisations for putting fear into the public about the PTMP.
To a question by Penang Heritage Trust president Lim Gaik Siang if the Pan Island Link (PIL) 1 project which will meander along the foothills of Penang Hill would be reviewed, Chow said the people should not be frightened into thinking that Penang Hill would be blown up with the building of a tunnel there as all precautions will be taken.
In a statement, Aliran called on the Penang government to display online the 20-volume PTMP formulated by SRS Consortium, the project’s delivery partner.
The group also urged the Department of Environment to extend the public display of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Pan Island Link (PIL) 1 by two months.
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