KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — A 17.5-km light rail transit (LRT) will be built on Penang island next year, the first such rail project in the state, The Star reported today quoting unnamed sources.
According to the report, the LRT will originate at the iconic Komtar building and terminate at the Penang International airport, and is part of a larger RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) to alleviate the island’s chronic traffic congestion.
The sources also added that the frontrunners for the RM4.5 billion contract are Gamuda Bhd, IJM Corp Bhd, and an unnamed Chinese firm.
The project is reportedly being contested by six consortiums, three of which are joint ventures between Malaysians and foreigners, following the state’s request for proposals last year for a project delivery partner (PDP) for its transport master plan.
The winning bidder will be put in charge of co-ordinating and implementing the PTMP, and will also secure the rights to reclaim either 1,618ha of land at the southern tip of the island or a 607ha zone running from the first Penang Bridge to Sungai Pinang.
According to state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow, the firm selected must be capable of executing the PTMP in its entirety.
“They will have to oversee all the projects estimated at RM27 billion. The costs cover highway infrastructure (RM16 billion) and public transport (RM9 billion), while the institutional costs amount to RM905 million,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
Chow added that Penang would also have to provide around RM10 billion for the projects.
“The RM10 billion allocation from the state does not include the RM6.3 billion for the undersea tunnel and three expressway projects,” he added.
The Penang exco previously said the winning bidders will be announced either next month or in June.
He also said in February that the state would consider appointing two PDPs due to the size and complexity of the projects.
The PTMP, which seeks to resolve traffic congestion woes on the island, includes proposals for a more comprehensive public transportation system network such as the construction of an LRT line, more public buses, an undersea tunnel connecting the island with the mainland and the expansion of major roads.