July 30 – Japan has agreed to provide concessional funding to build a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system in Sri Lanka’s proposed Megapolis plan, with the initial section to be elevated and the rest at ground level, the EconomyNext reported.
The two governments have agreed to expedite the detailed technical feasibility in order to initiate the physical implementation of the LRT as soon as possible, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development said in a statement.
The announcement came as a high level delegation from Government of Japan concluded a visit to Sri Lanka this week, which followed Cabinet approval for the LRT system proposed in the Megapolis plan, and a formal request from Sri Lanka to Japan for concessional financing for the project.
“The delegation, led by Hirofumi Katase the Vice Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry of the Government of Japan confirmed their government’s willingness to finance Sri Lanka’s landmark project on deeply concessional terms,” the statement said.
The decision was conveyed following high level discussions with Sri Lanka Government officials on 26th of July, followed by a meeting with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on the 27th.
“Confirmation of support from Japan for this critical investment under the Megapolis plan marks a major milestone” said Ajita de Costa, Chairman of the Western Region Megapolis Project.
“We can now put the debate on monorail vs. LRT behind us, and move forward aggressively to get this project implemented. We are confident of delivering an efficient and lasting mass transit solution for the city, backed by Japan’s commitment to quality.”
The long term plan developed by the Megapolis team includes an LRT network of approximately 75km.
The initial investment is to cover around 25km, connecting Fort, Kollupitiya, Bambalapitiya, Borella, Maradana, Rajagiriya, Battaramulla and Malambe.
“The initial segments of the LRT system to come up will be elevated, given the high density of existing development,” the statement said.
“However, elements of the network to follow are expected to be at grade (street level). The LRT system is also expected to interconnect with the rail and bus networks to provide the commuters with world class transfer facilities as a part of an integrated solution.”