LTA sets up firm to manage high-speed rail project

A new, wholly owned subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been formed to take charge of the local end of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project.

The LTA announced yesterday that SG HSR will be Singapore's infrastructure company for the project, and will build, own, fund and maintain the civil infrastructure here. This includes the HSR station in Jurong East, as well as the tunnels and part of the connecting bridge over the Strait of Johor.

It will work with its Malaysian counterpart, MyHSR Corp, a unit under the Malaysian Ministry of Finance, to jointly appoint an assets company and an international operator through a "fair and open international tender".

"Together, we shall realise our shared dream of a 90-minute ride from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur in 2026," said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a Facebook post.

The LTA subsidiary, which will have an initial share capital of $1 million, will also administer the various concessions when services begin.

"Given that this is a long-term project with a significant construction phase of approximately eight years before service begins, SG HSR is expected to receive funding support from the Government in the initial years," said an LTA spokesman.

"SG HSR will provide stronger management focus and dedicated resources to handle the complexities of the project and meet the ambitious 2026 timeline," said LTA chief executive Ngien Hoon Ping.

He added that SG HSR will work under the "close guidance" of the LTA and Singapore's Transport Ministry to ensure smooth implementation of the project.

Mr Rama Venkta, who was previously the project director of LTA's HSR group, will serve as the managing director of SG HSR, while Mr Chin Chee Kiat - who previously held concurrent roles in the LTA's policy and planning group as well as its HSR group - will be its deputy managing director.

LTA chairman Alan Chan will serve as the chairman of SG HSR's seven-person board of directors, while LTA deputy chairman Richard Lim will be its deputy chairman.

Slated to be completed by end- 2026, the 350km Kuala Lumpur- Singapore HSR is expected to cut travel time between the two cities to 90 minutes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2017, with the headline 'LTA sets up firm to manage high-speed rail project'. Print Edition | Subscribe