Abolish Penang Bridge toll says Lim Guan Eng
|Guan Eng calls for abolishment of Penang Bridge toll|
|Written by Regina William|
|Tuesday, 14 September 2010 19:11 The Edge Malaysia|
|GEORGE TOWN: On the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Penang Bridge, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng reiterated his call to the federal government to abolish the toll collection.
Lim said after 25 years, the construction costs of the bridge at RM750 million had already been recovered with more than RM1 billion in profits made to date.
“The federal government should abolish the toll for the bridge as the construction costs have already been surpassed with profits,” Lim said at a press conference on Tuesday, Sept 14.
The Penang Bridge was opened to the public on Sept 14, 1985, and it was the third longest bridge in the world then, with an overall length of 13.5km and now handles more than 100,000 vehicles a day. Eight km of the bridge is over the sea.
Lim also urged the federal government to work with the Penang government to ensure the focus of transportation was to move people and not cars.
The bridge was only one of modes of travel, which should also include a rejuvenated ferry system to achieve the purpose.
Lim also acknowledged the contribution of former Chief Minister, Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu during whose time the bridge idea was conceived and constructed.
He said after 25 years, there is much room for improvement on the part of the bridge concessionaire.
He cited the incident last Saturday where the Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s cables under the bridge had caught fire and caused a 10-hour traffic gridlock on the bridge.
Lim issued a reminder that safety measures on the bridge need a thorough review and overhaul.
He also cited a lack of coordination between the bridge concessionaire and the ferry operator, which was also apparent, and said there was a need to mitigate traffic congestion during such incidents.
Lim who earlier met Tenaga president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh, urged Tenaga to make public a report on the cause of the fire of the cable, which has been described as “unusual” and should not have occurred.
Unlike the 1995 fire which affected the power cable and resulted in two days of power cuts on the island, the latest incident only resulted in a two-minute power disruption.
A total of 150 metres of cable was said to have been affected and repair bills could be RM5 million. The cables are expected to be fully repaired by December.