A high-level government delegation from Japan this week expressed its willingness to finance the Megapolis Project’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) system on heavily concessional terms. “The delegation, led by Hirofumi Katase the Vice Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry of the Government of Japan confirmed their government’s willingness to finance Sri Lanka’s landmark project on deeply concessional terms,” a communiqué from the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry said.
It added that the two governments have agreed to expedite the detailed technical feasibility in order to initiate the physical implementation of the LRT as soon as possible. “Confirmation of support from Japan for this critical investment under the Megapolis plan marks a major milestone. We can now put the debate on monorail vs. LRT behind us, and move forward aggressively to get this project implemented. ” Western Region Megapolis Project Chairman Ajita de Costa said.
The initial investment will cover around 25km, connecting Fort, Kollupitiya, Bambalapitiya, Borella, Maradana, Rajagiriya, Battaramulla and Malabe, while the final LRT network will cover approximately 75km. The LRT system is also expected to interconnect with the rail and bus networks to provide the commuters with world class transfer facilities as a part of an integrated solution The ministry said that it is confident of delivering an efficient and lasting mass transit solution for the city, backed by Japan’s commitment to quality.
Light rail, also referred to as light metro, is a proven technology used in many countries as the preferred mode of mass transit. It forms the backbone of transport networks in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, Calgary, Gold Coast, Dallas, Los Angeles and many other major cities worldwide. Japanese firms are among the leading technology providers in this sector. The Megapolis transport strategy places a sharp focus on improvement of public mass transit. The overall plan includes introduction of a light rail system, electrification of railways, modernization of the bus transportation system as well as an introduction of canal transport. It also includes the implementation of some immediate measures such as introduction of CCTV monitoring to strengthen enforcement, introduction of staggered working hours, synchronization of traffic light systems, etc. (CW)