Friday, March 29, 2013

A Sinhala word that has fooled the public into believing the Southern Expressway is a roaring success!

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.      


Anonymous said...

the monorail would be convenient for people in Colombo, but what about the rest of the country? people in colombo often forget that there is a big country outside of the city bounds that has requirements also!! there's the whole south, central, northwest, and let's not forget about the north and the east! wholistic development needs to be considered by our leaders, not only devlopment for residents of COLOMBO

Anonymous said...

public transport should always be given precendence in development, but if the basic road infrastructure is not in place, should public transport come first? in the case of the southern expressway, it benefits both private and public transport as cars travel the road along with busses which can reach galle in 1 hour as opposed to 4 hours previously. what an improvement in efficiency! now calculate all of the economic benefits that flow from that massive efficiency boost and the highway starts to make good sense and should be expanded as quickly as possible! at the same time, tax collection needs to be improved on all fronts, so that public services can be financed as efficiently as the highway collects tolls.

Anonymous said...

I believe it is more urgent to build a mono rail system within the city or from negombo/Panadura/Malabe to Colombo.

Transport in Auckland said...

Travel and transportation is the basic need of every one and your blog is too much important about this purpose but I think rail system from Panadura to Colombo should must be improved and it will be possible when you will promote the new and more trains in this city and you should also focus the improvement of mono rail because mono rail is very convenient and comfortable for all travelers and this is the only way to improve public transport in Colombo.