The Sinhala papers have constantly harped on about the fact that the Southern Expressway has earned Rs 1B (koti 100 ka adayamak palamuweni wasara Dakshina Adivegi Margayan labuna) People falsely believe it is the profit!!!
The reality is that the tolls fees received was Rs1B approx in the first 12 months of operation. However as the article with the link shows, it is a dead loss, amounting to over Rs5.5B loss per annum, due to the huge cost overruns and interest on borrowings.
It is interesting that a topic I have advocated for years, namely of improving the public transport system comprehensively is the ONLY answer to the expected horrendous traffic problems of Sri Lanka.
I have earlier in a blog entry, advocated a light rail system running in parallel with the Expressway, which will enable a lot more people to use the system and connect them better through the rest of the rail network.
After the Katunayaka Expressway again at inordinately high cost, there is a proposal for the high speed, monorail system to the airport. This could have been done long ago WITHOUT the need for an expressway. After all just look at the 20min commute from Hong Kong Island to the airport on the rail network. Who would be foolish enough to drive to the airport there when it so much easier to take the train?
This crazy passion for overlooking public transport and especially the rail network has been at a huge economic cost to the Country. The obsession of law makers on road systems is because there is a lot of money to made from the difference in the tender and the cost they incur using poor quality inputs, and all contractors are in league.
The tragedy of Sri Lanka is that all the decision makers put their personal interests before that of the nation, in making decisions on behalf of the nation. This is at the expense of fleecing the country of its scarce resources. It is time we took stock and changed direction into a comprehensive plan for RAIL.