According to a reliable source, the award of reclaimed land as payment-in-kind to the builder of the Gurney Drive-Bagan Ajam tunnel will not involve any additional reclaimed land beyond what had already been approved and provided for earlier.
I have been told that the land to be swapped will come from part of the shoreline already earmarked for private reclamation in Tanjung Tokong and provided for under the Penang Structure Plan.
Also, from what I gather, the state government’s rationale for a highway from Pangkor Road to the Jelutong Expressway is to channel traffic away from George Town so that the inner city can be made more pedestrian friendly with easier access for public transport. At least, that’s the plan.
Making George Town pedestrian-friendly and more accessible to public transport is a good idea. Only thing I am not sure is how the Jelutong Expressway is going to cope with all that traffic. The thing about laying down road infrastructure is that once you have put it in place it gets more and more difficult to wean people off private motor vehicles.
The state government says it can’t do much about public transport as that comes under the federal government. I understand those constraints though I think the state should explore all possible options and do the groundwork for sustainable transport while waiting for a more enlightened and people-centred federal government in the future.
In the interest of the people, Rapid Penang and the state government should set aside their different political affiliations and cooperate to improve public transport in the state. The BEST initiative on the Penang Bridge shows that such cooperation is possible.