Macau, China, 24 Jun -The budget for the first phase of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project has been increased to about 11 billion patacas (US$ 1.375 billion) from its previous budget of 7.5 billion patacas, an increase of 47 percent, according to Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) Director Lei Chan Tong.
Lei made remark to the media in the legislative chambers Thursday, after attending a committee meeting of the legislature to lay out for its members the latest budget for the LRT project.
Lei explained that the latest budget calculated by his office was based on budgets submitted by project contractors.
"The original budget was based on information on the cost of railway systems around the world at the time and it was adjusted in line with the inflation index ratio. After drawing up the blueprints [of the LRT project], local contractors then provided us with projected costs and prices of materials. That is why the current cost has increased," Lei said.
The project’s budget was initially set at 4.2 billion patacas for the basic infrastructure and carriages in 2007, but just two years later, the office raised the budget to 7.5 billion patacas.
According to The Macau Post Daily a report released by the Audit Commission (CA) last month, the office spent 260 million patacas on the core service and construction contracts for the LRT project that were not included in the publicly announced 7.5 billion pataca budget. In other words, the original LRT budget – 7.5 billion patacas in 2009 – had already risen by 16 percent, from 7.5 billion patacas to 8.688 billion patacas.
However, the report also revealed some unlisted expenses for the LRT, including about 2.3 billion patacas to the contractor for future maintenance services.
Meanwhile Lei also indicated that the 11 billion patacas also includes five percent of the total budget – about 500 million patacas – for "unexpected" expenses.
According to the budget data provided, 360 million will be spent on preliminary excavation and services, 4.9 billion patacas on the railway system and 5.74 billion patacas on constructions works.
According to the government, the first phase of the LRT will comprise 21 stations – 10 in the Macau Peninsula and 11 in Taipa and Cotai, with a total route length of 21 kilometers.(MacauNews/Politics)