With Support From Japan, Mass Transit System On Track

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The government yesterday reassured the public that the automated gateway transit (AGT) system, an electric-powered mass transit system that will link Phnom Penh’s city centre with its airport, will be built as planned, after rumors circulated recently that the project may had been cancelled.

Sun Chanthol, the Minister of Transportation, speaks to the media. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said the AGT project is moving forward as planned, and that its feasibility study, which is being conducted in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), will be ready in the next two years.

“The study will be finished this year or the next. JICA is being very thorough, and wants to have every detail planned before beginning construction,” the minister said.

The AGT, described as an environmentally friendly mass transit system, can travel at speeds of 60 kilometers per hour without emitting hazardous smoke. It requires less space and can easily be maneuvered in the city’s minor thoroughfares, the minister explained.

“It will modernise public transport in the city and help reduce traffic congestion.”

He said that claims that the Japanese government had withdrawn its support for the project were fabricated, and that the East Asian giant is still committed to financing the project with $800 million, thou it has not yet confirmed whether the money will be disbursed as a loan or a grant.

“We still need to discuss the issue of financing with the Japanese government, as we don’t know if they are thinking of giving us a loan or a grant,” he said.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.