Financing, constructing and behaviour changing. Three different things really.

I am a supporter of Penang’s Transport Master Plan (PTMP). No one is going to like to invest into Penang if they face traffic jams on a daily basis as soon as they step into Penang. Much earlier article here: PTMP is needed for Penang  As for whether the current model is the best, that is up for debate. Latest news is this. Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says that IF the state’s current proposal for the PTMP is rejected, then the federal government will be responsible to come out with an alternative model. (Not sure if he meant this for our Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to respond). Chow said, “The Federal Government is responsible regardless of whether it accepts or rejects the state’s recommendation. If they accept, they will have to find the funds to support the project, and if they reject, they will have to suggest an alternative model to alleviate the traffic congestion in Penang.” The full article in TheStar here. 

In another article, Chow said that Penang will consider abandoning its present plan to reclaim land off Bayan lepas if the federal government is willing to help fund the project. The issue is about the financing for the Penang Transport Master Plan. He shared that Penang urgently needs a proper traffic dispersal system to address the highly congested roads and this will only be worsening in the future since most people will continue to drive. (Yes, I am one of them even if there’s that LRT plan. Perhaps on weekdays and for work, LRT would work perfectly fine. On weekends, it’s not going to be popular in the beginning. People need time to adjust. Just look at the MRT. Its popularity is only slowly building up) Chow asked for the go-ahead on the PAN Island Link 1 highway (PAN 1) which is a core ingredient of the comprehensive master plan. Besides that, there is also the proposed RM6 billion cross-channel undersea tunnel and the light rail transit system which connects George Town to the international airport in Bayan Lepas. Here’s the earlier article: PIL in Penang will enhance connectivity

By the way, beyond just whether or not the plans will go ahead, the government needs to have the right policies to support the switch from driving to taking public transport. I remember a few years ago I asked 10 Penang friends if they would take the public transport if they needed to walk around 200-400 metres. The answer from the majority is an overwhelming NO. Right policies include Unlimited Monthly Passes, INCREASE the parking rates at places where there are public transports, put up even more tolls and perhaps taking away the fuel subsidy or limiting it to a certain amount per month. Not all of these will be popular but do we really have other choices to persuade gently? Haha. This is Malaysia yeah. Even in Singapore, it’s not possible to persuade gently. Usually, it’s by government policies. For the benefit of the nation anyway. Happy anticipating the future.

written on 12 Aug 2018

Next suggested article: IKEA Penang opening in 9 months, a new catalyst?

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