SINGAPORE: Not all of the S$3 billion which has been set aside for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) and the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link in the Ministry of Transport's (MOT) FY18 budget will be spent this year.
The ministry said this in a reply on Thursday (Feb 22) to queries from Channel NewsAsia following Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat's Budget speech on Monday.
The ministry's overall budget of S$13.7 billion for 2018 is roughly 50 per cent higher than last year's allocation.
MOT said: "As these international rail projects are new, they account for a significant proportion of the increase in MOT’s budget compared to last year."
However, it declined to give an exact breakdown of the projected expenditures for the rail project in this Financial Year. “As with our other infrastructure projects, we are not able to share cost estimates at this juncture to avoid influencing the bids submitted during the tender process," MOT said.
PREP WORK AND ENGINEERING STUDIES ONGOING
The ministry added that both the HSR and RTS Link are undergoing advanced preparatory works and detailed engineering studies.
To support these works, SG HSR was set up as the Infrastructure Company to implement Singapore's side of the project
This company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Land Transport Authority (LTA), has also started ramping up recruitment while reviewing current bids for its building tenders.
“The SG HSR has commenced the pre-qualification process for the civil construction tenders for the HSR infrastructure in Singapore,” said the ministry, in its email reply.
"(The MOT) has also started to ramp up its manpower recruitment."
ASSETSCO JOINT TENDERS CALLED FROM BOTH COUNTRIES
Malaysia’s infrastructure company, MyHSR Corp, together with SG HSR, had also called a joint tender for an Assets Company (AssetsCo) for the HSR project back in December 2017.
“They will be responsible for designing, building, financing and maintaining all rolling stock, as well as designing, building, financing, operating and maintaining all rail assets (e.g. trackwork, power, signalling and telecommunications) for the HSR,” said the ministry.
It added that the AssetsCo will also coordinate the system’s network capacity for operations and maintenance needs.
“Bidders will have until Jun 29 to submit proposals to MyHSR Corp and SG HSR,” MOT said.
“Through an open, fair and transparent procurement process, MyHSR Corp and SG HSR will jointly select a qualified bidder.”
Operations of the HSR express service between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are targeted to begin by end-2026.
LTA, Singapore’s infrastructure company for the RTS Link, had also called tenders for the civil construction of the RTS Link in January 2018, MOT said.
The civil construction works are expected to start early next year, and passenger service on the RTS Link is targeted to commence by end-2024.
DOMESTIC RAIL PROJECTS
About half the ministry's budget this year will be spent on domestic rail projects such as the building of new MRT lines, according to MOT.
These include the Cross Island Line – which is expected to be completed in 2030, as well as the Jurong Region Line – which will open in 2025.
In 2019, there will also be the opening of the first stage of the and the Thomson-East Coast Line. Its fifth and final stage is expected to be fully ready by 2024.