Is spending RM780m to upgrade three roads – reportedly with a total length of 13.2km – the best way to use precious public funds? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on public transport and sustainable transport?

The RM780m works out to RM59m per km. Looks high to me. But even if you consider that to be not excessive, why can’t the federal government invest more in public transport in Penang? That’s the problem with our system. By right, transport and public transport should come under the purview of the state and local governments.

According to a report in the Malaysian Insider

To overcome possible traffic congestion when the bridge is completed, the federal government has also approved a RM780 million upgrade for three main roads linking the bridge on the island.

The three projects involved the 4.5km federal road linking Batu Maung to Penang, 6km road linking Batu Maung to Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah and a 2.7km road linking Teluk Kumbar to Bayan Lepas.

Work on all three projects will start by the end of this year and is expected to complete, in stages,
within an 18-month period.

And incredibly enough, we still don’t know what the toll for the second bridge is going to be. The bridge authorities are in a real conundrum – price the toll too high and few people will want to use the second bridge. The cost of the bridge itself has soared from pre-construction estimates.

And why didn’t they think of a rail link?