In 2016, I highlighted concerns over the rising cost of the elevated light rail transit in Hawaii and warned that the same thing could happen in Penang.
Ever notice the rising cost for this project in the media in recent years?
Well, in 2015, they said the LRT cost from Komtar to the Penang Airport (17.5km) would only be RM4.5bn.
By 2016, the cost mentioned in the media for a 30km route had risen to RM7bn.
It was clarified in 2017 that the figure was RM7.4bn for the actual construction of a 24km line plus land acquisition of RM1bn for a totel of RM8.4bn.
By early July this year, it was reported that the cost would be RM9bn.
And now, we are told that the LRT cost would be “more than RM10bn“.
And the project has not even started! What’s going on?
No wonder the state government is desperately seeking public money from the federal government for this extravagant “PTMP”.
Why not explore cheaper options outlined in the Better, Cheaper, Faster alternative put forward by Penang Forum?
Look at the Halcrow plan which budgeted RM10bn for public transport for the entire state as opposed to RM10bn for a single LRT route.
Start with improving the bus service eg introducing bus lanes along certain stretches and real-time bus arrival times in an app.
But that’s probably too cheap for them compared to their RM46bn mega plan.