The Straits Times says

Balancing infrastructure and ecology

The decision to build a section of the MRT Cross Island Line deep under the largest nature reserve, instead of skirting around it, represents a working balance struck between the needs of infrastructural development and ecological preservation. The decision will not satisfy all nature lovers, who do contribute to long-term environmental sustainability, but they can take heart from the ecological safeguards put in place. As for the Government, future development plans must treat environmental concerns on a case-by-case basis but remain committed overall to a sustainable ecological future. What is built for the immediate future must relate to Singapore's long-term sustainability as a city-state with scarce natural resources. The case for development is clear.

The line is a piece of critical transport infrastructure that will meet the needs of a million commuters. It will interchange with almost all the other MRT lines and thus raise the resilience of the network. It will support the development of new hubs such as the Jurong Lake District and the new Build-To-Order estates in Sengkang, Punggol and Hougang. Within these parameters of development, the direct alignment will result in shorter travel time, lower fares and reduced construction costs. Indeed, the direct route will be more environmentally friendly in the long run because of lower energy consumption. These are sound reasons for choosing the direct route.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2019, with the headline 'Balancing infrastructure and ecology'. Subscribe