GEORGE TOWN: SRS Consortium, a triumvirate joint venture of Gamuda Berhad, Ideal Property Development Sdn Bhd and Loh Phoy Yen Holdings Sdn Bhd has been appointed the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) for the RM27 billion Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) projects. Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the selection was based on their extensive expertise on mass rail transit and related public transport infrastructure and large scale township development. He said the engineering designs, gathering of public feedback and obtaining state and federal government approvals is expected to take about six months. Lim said the PDP was to bear all costs in the event that approvals was not obtained from federal authorities. He said the state expects the first PTMP project to be rolled out by 2017 and expressed his hopes that a rail-based transportation system could be the beginning. "The PTMP 'big-bang' approach combines air, water, rail and road to provide a solution to mitigate traffic congestion," he said in a press conference today. Present was Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy, Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow, Works Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng and Tourism Development Committee chairman Danny Law. Representing the consortium was Gamuda CEO Datuk Lin Yun Ling, Gamuda executive director Szeto Wai Loong, Ideal Property Group CEO Datuk Alex Ooi and Loh Phoy Yen Holdings directors Datuk Seri Tan Hui Jing and Datuk Lim Koon Seng. The PTMP is a massive effort to create new road networks, improve present carriageways and the pedestrian ecosystem. This also includes significantly upgrading the public transport system by introducing new transport options including trams, a mass rapid transit (MRT) system and water taxis. Under the PTMP, five new intra-state highways are proposed which includes an undersea tunnel to link the island and the mainland. When asked, Lim said it was still premature to discuss how the project would be funded but did not rule out a land swap scenario. "It is too early to say, we have to wait for the PDP to obtain the relevant licenses and approvals from the federal government," he said, adding the PDP could also propose their own financial framework. Lin, when approached later, said the project was to be delivered in a sustainable manner and that the financial model used must withstand the ups and downs of the economic cycle. He said the PTMP should complement the economic engines of Penang and ticked manufacturing, business process outsourcing and medical tourism as key sectors. "We hope to get the designs and approvals within six months," he added.