Macau Chief Executive Chui Sai On stated yesterday that the Macau government will continue to discuss the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) construction project with contractors, and will resolve disputes through legal measures if the two parties cannot reach a consensus.
Mr Chui made the comment on the sidelines of the Central Government Liaison Office Chinese New Year cocktail party at the Macau Tower. He said that based on the report he received from Raimundo do Rosário, Secretary for Transportation and Public Works, he understands that out of the five major LRT constructions in Taipa, the authorities are more confident of resolving issues with four of them.
Regarding the construction of the LRT depot, the CE said that the government will continue to discuss it with the contractor. He also pointed out that authorities have fined the contractor before: “If [the contractor] really cannot [achieve a consensus with the government], we must resolve the issue legally since Macau is a place that upholds the rule of law,” he said.
The CE recognized that residents are mostly concerned with the traffic issue in Macau. He said that the government will continue to push forward LRT construction and will roll out new measures, apart from prioritizing public transportation, to resolve the traffic problems in the SAR. He believes that the progress of construction on the Macau LRT section will be back on track once the authorities can come up with the route plan.
LRT construction delays made headlines again following a report by the Commission of Audit issued in January, predicting a massive budget blowout and delay of the project.
After attending a meeting of the Legislative Assembly (AL) Land and Public Concession Affairs Committee on Monday, Secretary Raimundo do Rosário said that the administration still couldn’t provide any estimation for the final budget of the LRT project.
He also said that while the authorities were able to resolve issues in the construction of three segments and a transportation interchange in the LRT Taipa section, the building of the LRT depot is behind schedule. The Secretary warned that the delay in the depot’s construction might even affect the delivery of the LRT trucks.
In terms of the LRT Macau section, for which the government still did not provide a concrete route plan, Mr Rosário said that the progress was stalled among disputes regarding the NAPE area segment. He predicts that the administration will be able to publish the consultation report on the route plan within the first half of this year.
However, the Secretary said that the government still cannot provide any predictions on the budget or construction period of the Macau section. He also claimed that problems are to be expected in projects as enormous as the LRT construction, and sometimes it is inevitable for the authorities to disagree with the contractors. He said that the government would not evade responsibility and that he would try his best to find any possible solutions and measures for the LRT project.
Meanwhile, after listening to the briefing by the Transportation Infrastructure Office, AL committee president Ho Ion Sang said that he was certain the LRT Taipa section will not be finished and ready for operation in 2016.
He stated the LRT depot construction is in a de-facto suspension stage. If the depot cannot catch up to the schedule, it is impossible to accommodate or maintain the LRT trucks scheduled for delivery to Macau from Japan this year.
He said that it is possible for the trucks to first be stored in Japan, but noted that the government officials did not mention the storage cost. He also revealed that officials said the depot contractor’s attitude was “passive” and that they did not provide sufficient personnel and machinery for the construction.