Penang’s LRT Expands to Tanjung Bungah: A Promising Development


In an exciting turn of events, Penang’s inaugural light rail transit (LRT) system is set to stretch its reach all the way to the vibrant suburbs of Tanjung Bungah, surpassing its initial endpoint at Komtar by a remarkable 6 kilometers.

During a press conference, Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook announced that a comprehensive public feedback exercise would be conducted before the commencement of construction, ensuring the voices and concerns of the local community are duly considered.

With the aim of initiating the ambitious 27-station project this year, the esteemed MRT Corp will take the helm as the lead agency, spearheading the endeavors to transform this vision into a reality. The projected timeline for completion stands at five years, with meticulous planning and execution at the forefront.

The LRT line, spanning an impressive 29 kilometers, will embark from the Penang International Airport in the southern region of the island, embarking on a captivating journey that traverses northward to the idyllic Tanjung Bungah.

Elaborating on the rationale behind this extension, Loke Siew Fook expressed MRT Corp’s conviction that reaching Tanjung Bungah was an imperative step forward, fostering connectivity and accessibility for the local populace. However, he emphasized that the Komtar station would retain its significance as one of the pivotal hubs, strategically situated near the bustling Sia Boey district.

Notably, the LRT line will gracefully ascend above ground, ingeniously utilizing existing road reserves to minimize the need for extensive land acquisition—a prudent approach that respects the surrounding environment.

Ascertaining the financial aspects of this ambitious venture, Loke Siew Fook outlined various options, including potential allocations from development expenditure or the issuance of MRT Corp bonds. The final decision will ultimately rest with the esteemed Finance Ministry, which will meticulously evaluate the most viable and prudent course of action.

Offering a glimpse into the future, the transport minister also unveiled the possibility of future phases encompassing LRT lines that connect Butterworth and Kepala Batas, solidifying Penang’s commitment to enhancing its public transportation network and fostering seamless connectivity across the region.

The extension from Komtar to Tanjung Bungah became possible through a careful revision of the earlier proposed plan, which originally included 10 stations for the envisioned three reclaimed islands. However, subsequent revisions resulted in the consolidation of the reclaimed islands into a single one, creating the opportunity to redirect resources toward expanding the LRT line to Tanjung Bungah.

Initially, the state government envisioned a comprehensive 26.8-kilometer LRT line with an impressive 23 stations, entailing a projected cost of nearly RM10 billion. The funding for this transformative project was intended to be generated through the sale of the three reclaimed islands. However, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim revealed that the government would provide “additional funds” for the LRT project in exchange for scaling down the reclamation plans. Consequently, Penang graciously embraced this compromise, opting to reclaim only one island while prioritizing the extension to Tanjung Bungah.

This momentous development in Penang’s transportation landscape serves as a testament to the commitment of both the federal and state governments to propel the region forward through sustainable and innovative infrastructure projects. As the LRT project gains momentum, the community eagerly anticipates the improved connectivity, enhanced mobility, and myriad opportunities it will bring to Penang’s residents and visitors alike.

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