Parliament: New scheme will fund small-scale projects like footpaths, lighting and railings

The new scheme will cover projects not funded by existing ones including the Land Transport Authority's Walk2Ride scheme for covered linkways leading to transport nodes.
The new scheme will cover projects not funded by existing ones including the Land Transport Authority's Walk2Ride scheme for covered linkways leading to transport nodes.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new scheme has been launched to fund small-scale infrastructure projects like footpaths, lighting and railings.

The Local Infrastructure Projects scheme, launched by the Municipal Services Office (MSO), will have an initial budget of $3.6 million for the next two years.

Minister for Community, Culture and Youth Grace Fu, who oversees the MSO, announced the scheme in Parliament on Tuesday (March 6).

The move follows a pilot started in 2014, which had 140 infrastructure requests. Some of these requests have resulted in the installation of handrails up a footbridge crossing Geylang River and lighting along a footpath near Punggol Point LRT station.

"These are small-scale but nevertheless important requests that make a positive difference to residents' daily living," said Ms Fu.

The Straits Times understands these small-scale projects are usually under $100,000 each.

The new scheme will cover projects not funded by existing ones, such as the Land Transport Authority's Walk2Ride scheme for covered linkways leading to transport nodes, Community Involvement Projects Committee Scheme for HDB estates, and Estate Upgrading Programme Scheme for private estates.

Besides the new funding scheme, MSO has also worked with agencies to develop "escalation mechanisms" so that conflicting demands or constraints among the agencies do not result in undue delays in the planning, development and maintenance of connectivity-related infrastructure.

"This will help to bridge the gap, and support our agencies in meeting local infrastructure needs of residents more responsively," she said.

The MSO was formed three years ago to coordinate multiple agencies' efforts in delivering municipal services.

Ms Fu noted that it now takes about 11 working days to resolve 90 per cent of the more complex issues involving multiple parties, a marked improvement from 16 working days in end-2015.

To improve productivity and cost-efficiency, MSO is also working with agencies to improve the planning and design of municipal infrastructure from the get-go, so as to improve downstream maintenance, beginning with the cleaning of public infrastructure.

For example, the MSO and National Environment Agency are working with infrastructure agencies to establish design specifications and guidelines that will facilitate cleaning.

The guidelines on the design of new public infrastructure will make it easier to clean and support mechanisation efforts by cleaning contractors, such as design features that would prevent the accumulation of litter in public infrastructure.