Penang Told to Build Cross Channel Rail Instead of Undersea Tunnel

Pavither 17 Apr 2018

The state government of Penang should build a cross-channel rail link and improve the existing ferry service instead of constructing an undersea tunnel, according to Penang Forum spokesman Datuk Anwar Fazal in a report by The Edge.

Previously, the state government has offered to provide 44.5ha of reclaimed land in exchange for Consortium Zenith undertaking a RM6.3 billion infrastructure project.

These consists of a 7.2km undersea tunnel linking Gurney Drive on the island to Bagan Ajam in Seberang Perai, the 4.075km Gurney Drive–Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass, the 5.7km Air Itam–Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway bypass and the 10.53km North Coastal Paired Road (NCPR) from Tanjung Bungah to Teluk Bahang.

Anwar wants the government to prioritise accessible and integrated public transport via the implementation of bus lanes and bus rapid transits, instead of focusing on highway building.

Moreover, the Penang Forum is urging the local authorities to stop creating artificial islands via reclamation and the practice of giving reclaimed land as payment for infrastructure projects.

“The government should stop (these) kinds of practices and ensure that reclaimed lands are leasehold,” said the coalition of progressive public-interest civil society groups in the state.

Previously, the local authorities have proposed to a land swap deal to carry out the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan. These include the 7km-Tanjung Tokong Monorail Line, the 13km Air Itam Monorail Line, 22km Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line and the George Town – Butterworth Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line.

In August 2015, the state government appointed a Project Delivery Partner (PDP) for this massive project by the name of SRS Consortium, which comprises Gamuda, Loh Phoy Yen Holdings and Ideal Property Development.

The RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project is separate from the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan.

Penang Forum’s suggestions, including the halt to land swap deals, are part of the group’s Agenda 2018. This to-do list for the government has three main goals, namely sustainable development, good governance and strong public institutions, as well as equitable sharing of resources and social inclusion, and sustainable development.

“In the last 10 years, the state has made progress on some fronts but has also seen major challenges arising from overdependence on growth driven by the property sector and tourism,” noted Anwar.

“Car-centred urban sprawl and overdevelopment are destructively encroaching upon our hills, rivers, and seas. We believe that our present trajectory of development is unsustainable.”

As such, he is urging the state government to ban hill projects as these are likely to trigger landslides.

Furthermore, the authorities should prioritise the lowest income earners (B40 group) when it comes to social housing, and affordable homes should not cost over three times the income of middle-income households (M40 group).

“A far-sighted vision for Penang requires a paradigm shift to new urbanism, sustainable transport and environmental resilience. The agenda supports the call for a new urbanism — transit-oriented development, walkable downtowns, mixed-income housing, plenty of public green open spaces and social inclusion,” added Anwar.

Image sourced from Penang Wikia

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Ash Kar
May 18, 2018
I truly would like that. undersea tunnel with LRT linkage..apart from traffic congestion's and pollution's would be an asset for Penangites with monorails servicing high traffic volume areas.
Ash Kar
May 18, 2018
I truly wud like tht. undersea tunnel with LRT linkage..apart from traffic congestions and pollutions wud be an asset for Penangites with monorails servicing high traffic volume areas.

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