Penang Transport Council to tackle transportation problems

GEORGE TOWN (March 9, 2009):
The Penang government hopes to resolve the transportation problems in the state with the setting up of a Penang Transport Council (PTC).

Local government and traffic management committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said today the members of the working group on transport set up last year will be roped in to form the PTC.

"With the setting up of the PTC, we hope to come up with a Penang transportation master plan to review the public transport systems and traffic management and find ways to improve them," he told a press conference.

Listing traffic congestion, parking problems and inadequate public transportation as among the main transportation woes, Chow said the PTC will be the coordinating body for all such issues.

"It will provide professional advice, comments and recommendations on all matters concerning transportation in Penang. The  issues would include traffic management, transport infrastructure and transport planning," he said.

The PTC will have up to 15 members consisting of representatives from the state authorities, experts in transport planning and management from professional organisations, and members of public interest groups, including bus-users, residents associations and civil society groups.

The council will hold a minimum of four meetings a year and any of its recommendations approved by the municipal councils will be forwarded to the state executive council for consideration, endorsement and implementation.

Chow said there are six proposed task forces to be set up within the PTC -- for traffic management and improvement, public transport, transport infrastructure, mega-projects, transport master plan and finance, and public education and public relations.

"The PTC meetings will be open to the public when the need arises and the principle of accountability and transparency will be followed," he said.

However, this is not a precursor to the state government establishing a transport commission as Chow said it is not feasible and it is out of the state government's control.

"We can recommend for a transport commission to be set up but the decision still lies at federal level," he said.

Chow said transportation and traffic problems remained the main issues of contention amont the people and the state government sees this as a challenge by setting up the council to solve these problems.