PETALING JAYA: A transport expert has backed a proposed LRT project connecting Penang island with the mainland, saying it is a far better option than an intra-island only rail network.
Rosli Azad Khan said any investment in mass transit for Penang should facilitate movement between Bayan Lepas on the island and Seberang Perai on the mainland.
“Over the last 10 years, travel demand has shifted more and more from Seberang Perai to Bayan Lepas and vice versa,” he told FMT.
“If you look at the volume of traffic crossing the first Penang bridge, an LRT is badly needed.”
A 2018 report by The Edge claimed that some 80,000 vehicles use the first Penang bridge daily. This number surges during festive periods.
On Sunday, transport minister Loke Siew Fook said the unity government could greenlight the proposed LRT project between the island and the mainland.
However, Rosli said a new study should be conducted to identify high-demand traffic corridors as the previous study is outdated.
“It is critical to determine the right alignment,” he said, adding any decision must also take into account the effectiveness of reducing urban congestion throughout Penang.
Former Land Public Transport Commission head of policy and planning Wan Agyl Wan Hassan said the proposed LRT link to the mainland would serve as an economic catalyst for Penang.
“It could supercharge the economy and spur job growth while alleviating the pressure on the existing transport system.
“However, there are also potential risks. It is essential to consider the financial implications and the possible environmental consequences of the project,” he said.