Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosario said Tuesday he expects a fully government-owned company tasked with the construction and operation of Macau’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) system to be set up before the middle of this year.
Rosario made the remarks while speaking to reporters after attending a closed-door meeting of the legislature’s 3rd Standing Committee, which is reviewing, article-by-article, a government-initiated bill regulating the future LRT operation.
The Executive Council announced during a press conference in the middle of last month that the government had drafted a by-law on the establishment of the government-owned LRT company. Government-drafted by-laws, officially known as administrative regulations, do not require the legislature’s approval.
The by-law took effect last Tuesday, the day after its promulgation in the Official Gazette (BO) last Monday.
The by-law authorises the establishment of a limited liability company composed of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) and the government’s Industrial and Commercial Development Fund (FDIC) and Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT).
According to the by-law, the government-owned LRT company will be tasked with the construction and maintenance of the infrastructure and equipment used for the operation of the LRT system, as well as the operation of the LRT system.
The by-law states that the company will have a capital of 1.4 billion patacas to be fully subscribed and paid up in cash by three shareholders: the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) holding 96 percent, the Industrial and Commercial Development Fund holding three percent and the Science and Technology Development Fund holding one percent.
According to the by-law, the government-owned LRT company is officially named “Macao Light Rapid Transit Corporation, Limited” in the English language.
The government has reaffirmed that the LRT Taipa section will come into service in the second half of this year. The Taipa section, which includes Cotai, is 9.3 kilometres long and will have 11 stations.
Speaking to reporters, Rosario noted that the Transport Infrastructure Office (GIT) will be abolished when the government-owned LRT company is established, adding that the LRT company will then take over the tasks currently conducted by the office – which was established in November 2007 as a government’s “project team” tasked with planning the city’s LRT system and supervising the LRT construction.
The government has reaffirmed that the LRT Taipa section will come into service in the second half of this year. The Taipa section, with includes Cotai is 9.3 kilometres long and will have 11 stations.
The government has pledged that the total cost of the LRT Taipa section, including the construction, the rolling stock and the setting-up of the system, will not exceed the previously budgeted amount of 11 billion patacas.
Rosario also said that the government will discuss with the MTR Railway Operations (Macau) Company Limited the possible transfer of its service provision agreement — that it signed last year — to the new government-owned LRT company.
The government first announced in April last year that it had hired the MTR Corporation from Hong Kong to operate the LRT Taipa section for five years as well as to provide assistance in the run-up to the start of its operation.
In a statement in April last year, the Transport Infrastructure Office said that the government had granted the MTR an 80-month agreement for assisting in the operation of the LRT Taipa section and its maintenance.
The services provided by the MTR include pre-opening testing, hiring the operation team and staff training.
According to the statement, under the 5.88 billion pataca agreement, the MTR will operate the LRT Taipa segment for five years, as well as carry out repairs and maintenance of the trains, signal system and all the other facilities and equipment.
The MTR Corporation Limited has set up a fully-owned subsidiary – MTR Railway Operations (Macau) Company Limited for the operation of the LRT Taipa section,
The by-law also states that the chief executive is to promulgate the LRT company’s statute – which details the company’s operation -in the Official Gazette.
The LRT company’s statue was promulgated in the Official Gazette last Wednesday, two days after the promulgation of the by-law.(Macaunews)