(Article credits to The Star Newspaper)

The state government us being questioned on how it plans to fund the RM170mil annual maintenance for the Bayan Leaps light rail transit (LRT) project.

Citizens Awareness Chant Group adviser, Yan Lee asked if the LRT project could be replaced with a cheaper alternative.

“The LRT would cost RM9bil to build and RM170mil to maintain per year. The question is whether is a need to pay RM9bil for a short LRT route from Komtar to the airport as there is no high population movement in the area,” he said at the press conference in George Town recently.

He said Chant supported the alternative solution – an autonomous rail rapid transit (ART) system – instead.

“My sources claimed that members of the state government went to China to find out a company there offered to carry out ART, which connects the island, Butterworts and airport, for RM1bil,”, he said.

Yan Lee urged the state to confirm the official visit and whether they would consider the RM1bil ART system instead of the RM9bil LRT line.

The LRT, together with a monorail, cable car system and water taxis, is part of the state government’s RM46bil Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

It will begin from Komtar in the northeast corner of the island and pass through Jelutong, Gelugor, Bayan Leaps and Penang International Airport before ending at the proposed Penang South Reclamation (PSR) development compromising three man-made island 1,800ha near Teluk Lumbar.

It is expected to provide a fast route to the airport and will traverse densely populated residential, commercial and industrial areas.

There are 27 LRT stations along the alignment, with the maintenance depot located on the first island that is to be reclaimed on the island’s south coast.