Sunday, November 8, 2015 4:01 pm
By Kazeem Ugbodaga.
The Federal Government has at last approved the construction of the $2.4 billion Lagos Red Line Rail Project after eight years of negotiation.
This was disclosed by the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Dayo Mobereola at the weekend in a chat with newsmen at the Conference Room, Ministry of Transportation, at Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
He said approving the right of way for the project had been a problem for years as the FG in the previous administration was foot-dragging. The right of way belonged to the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC.
Mobereola said it took Lagos four and half years to get approval for the project and another four years for discussion on the technicality of the project.
“The right of way has been approved and we are in full discussion with the bidders,” he said.
On the Blue Line Light Rail project, the commissioner stated that the government would complete it by the end of 2016. He said Lagos was the only state in the world to have embarked on such project without support from the FG, adding that such projects normally take around seven years to complete.
The commissioner said it took Dubai, with all its resources seven years to complete its rail project and in some places, 22 years. “We are mindful of the problem of transportation in Lagos State. Towards the end of next year, something will happen. Our rail project is 27 km and we are doing it in phases. We are doing Mile 2 to CMS now and we will do Mile 2 to Okokomaiko later,” he said.
Mobereola added that the first train, a 4-county was purchased this year and that government would bring it on board to test-run the rail system from Mile 2-CMS. He said his vision as Commissioner for Transportation was to make public transportation safe, reliable, accessible and comfortable in such a way that people would leave their vehicles behind and take mass transit buses to and from their destinations. According to him, there was the need to develop mass transit transport scheme for the benefit of the teeming population of Lagos.
Also speaking on the challenges of the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency, LASTMA, Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi said inadequate personnel had been the problem of the outfit, saying that the 2,300 officers of the authority were insufficient to control traffic in the metropolis.
He said currently, the outfit ran three shifts, saying that government is working to boost the workforce of the organization.
Elegushi added that since Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had pronounced that enforcement of the state traffic law would begin in earnest, government was ready to provide enough logistics for LASTMA to make the enforcement effective.