GEORGE TOWN, June 13 — Penang hopes to secure a conditional approval for its first railway scheme connecting Bayan Lepas to Komtar by next month, state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow said.

The local government committee chairman said SRS Consortium, the project delivery partner (PDP) for the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), met with Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) last week.

“The meeting went well and seemed favourable,” he told reporters after a PTMP briefing with Japanese delegates at Komtar this morning.

Chow added that a July approval for the proposed Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT) would allow the state to proceed with a three-month public inspection beginning August, to allow public feedback.

The Bayan Lepas LRT project, along with the pan island highway link and the reclamation of two islands off southern Penang, are part of the first phase of the PTMP implementation.

Chow also said that once SPAD grants the approval, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be set up to administer the implementation of these projects.

The SPV will be a government entity that that will also be tasked with facilitating city planning, development, promotion and management of the Penang South Reclamation (PSR)  project, he said.

Chow added that the state hopes to commence construction on the Bayan Lepas line - the first phase of the LRT project - by next year. Operations for the first phase should begin by 2023 while the full line should be operational by 2030, he said.

Earlier, during a question and answer session, SRS Consortium business development senior manager Andrew Chan said it will take up to three years before they could have land to sell under the PSR to fund the PTMP.

He said they can proceed with construction of the LRT and highway project first but would still need to time it with the sale of lands from the reclamation.

“We will depend on bridging financing first to fund the reclamation and construction of the LRT and after the third year, we will have lands to sell to fund the project,” he said.

When asked about sustainability of the future transport assets, Chow said the transport system will not rely strictly on farebox revenue and advertisements.

“We are looking at property development to generate another revenue source to sustain the transport assets, like in Japan and Hong Kong. I think Hong Kong’s MTR is known more as a property developer than as the LRT operator,” he said.