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Macau government warns long debate could delay LRT project

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io said Wednesday that while the government will listen to public opinion about the routing of the southern peninsula section of the Light Rail Transit (LRT), he warned that a prolonged debate could delay the project’s completion. The policy secretary said the construction had to begin as […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:49 am

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si Io said Wednesday that while the government will listen to public opinion about the routing of the southern peninsula section of the Light Rail Transit (LRT), he warned that a prolonged debate could delay the project’s completion.

The policy secretary said the construction had to begin as soon as possible to respond to the urgent need to reduce traffic congestion in the city and to avoid a further in-crease in the budget.

Lau made the comments after attending a legislative committee meeting.

According to government’s proposal for the LRT southern peninsula section, part of it would pass a still-to-be-reclaimed area along Avenida Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in front of Kun Iam Statue, blocking the view of the statue.

Local Buddhists have raised concerns that the LRT section blocking the view of the statue will disturb the area’s harmony.

When asked by reporters why the government did not launch a public consultation on the plan, Lau said that a public consultation was merely one, but not the only, channel to disseminate information and receive opinions from civil society.

He said that the proposal was discussed in the legislature and that the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) was now receiving opinions from various associations and members of the public. Lau said he believed that “there was no problem with the way the information was passed on about the proposed plan of the southern peninsula section and receiving opinions”.

“[The fact that] we did not launch a public consultation session for the proposed plan does not mean that we will not listen to public opinion”, Lau said, adding “We will analyse the various opinions we receive”.

However, Lau insisted that the LRT system is very important to solving the city’s traffic problems adding that the sooner the construction starts the sooner the problems can be resolved.

Lau also said that any possible delay in the construction would likely cause the budget to rise. “Amid the current and expected future inflation, if we keep discussing the matter so that the construction is delayed, everyone will have concerns about the construction costs [rising]”, he said.

Lau said that despite the government telling the legislature that a tender for the section was slated to be launched by the end of this year, if the plan’s final conclusion was constantly delayed, the project’s completion schedule could not be guaranteed.

Lau said that there would be an adjustment to the plan in response to the concerns that the section obstructs the view of the statue and that the government is listening to professionals’ opinions on how to do that. He also said the government had asked the Portuguese designer of the statue to come to Macau to suggest a solution.(macaunews/macaupost)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:49 am

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