Close to $100 billion earmarked for land transport projects for next 10 years

The amount includes money budgeted for completion of the Thomson-East Coast line. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Nearly $100 billion has been set aside to build road, rail and active mobility projects over the next decade, according to Budget 2020 statements.

New rail projects account for the biggest chunk of $87.5 billion. The amount includes money budgeted for completion of the Thomson-East Coast line (TEL), Jurong Region Line and Phase 1 of the Cross Island Line (CRL), as well as advanced engineering studies for the western leg of the CRL.

The amount also includes extensions for the Downtown, North-east and Circle lines.

The CRL has the longest lead time, with completion of the 50km rail project linking Changi to Tuas expected to be completed by 2031.

All the others are scheduled to open before that, starting with the TEL, which will be completely up and running by 2023.

The sum also includes ancillary rail-related projects such as the installation of civil defence shelters at MRT stations, additional underground spaces created during MRT construction, installation of noise barriers, procurement of signalling simulation facilities and the construction of an Integrated Train Testing Centre in Tuas.

But it excludes the renewal of the North-South, East-West lines, which Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said would cost more than $2.5 billion, and which is due to be completed by 2023. It also excludes supporting infrastructural works such as drainage.

Bus-related projects amount to $1.3 billion, including the building of depots and integrated transport hubs - which incorporate a bus interchange with an MRT station - as well as the purchase of 450 new buses to increase capacity.

About $6.78 billion has been earmarked for domestic rail projects for financial year 2020.

For road projects, the Government has earmarked $7.2 billion to enhance and upgrade the existing road network, such as by resurfacing expressways and the maintenance of elevated roads such as viaducts and flyovers.

The amount includes new projects such as a road network for the Changi region to accommodate Changi Airport Terminal 5 as well as the eastern end of the CRL; an interchange at Senja Road-Kranji Expressway; and the expansion of the Kallang Paya Lebar Expressway and Tampines Expressway Interchange and new links to Punggol Central and Pasir Ris.

These are scheduled to be completed by 2029, 2022 and mid-2021 respectively.

Some $6 million of the amount has been set aside for the test-bedding of autonomous vehicles, and about $1.45 billion for active mobility projects.

Expanding the Islandwide Cycling Network from 440km today to 1,320km by 2030 accounts for the lion's share of the funds, while $31 million will be for supporting infrastructure such as bicycle parking facilities, signage to improve wayfinding and footpath, widening as well as safety enhancements such as speed-regulating strips.

In total, all these surface transport projects amount to $97.5 billion. But as with previous budgets, actual expenditure may differ from what has been planned. For instance, $40.4 million was earmarked for a stormwater retention pond in the new Bidadari estate, but the actual cost of the flood mitigation measure is now closer to $25 million.

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