The Genting Tunnel on the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is a key part of shortening the travel distance between Bentong and Kuala Lumpur, former transport minister Tan Sri Liow Tiong Lai has said.
Travel time between Bentong and Gombak Integrated Transport Terminal near Kuala Lumpur will be shortened by this section of ECRL to just 28 minutes, The star reported Liow as saying. “It will help decongest the Karak Highway,” Liow said.
The railway will promote ecotourism in Bentong in addition to the economic growth of the peninsula’s eastern corridor, said Liow, who is also a former MP for Bentong. Many residents of Bentong were also relieved and happy that tunnel boring work had started for the Genting Tunnel, he added.
“It means a lot to our people here, not only relieving congestion along the Karak Expressway, but also shortening the travel time between Bentong and KL,” Liow said.
As of April this year, the overall progress of the East Coast Rail Link currently stands at 29%, with completion scheduled for December 2026 for operations to begin in 2027. Construction of the 16.39 km portion ECRL’s Genting tunnel started in May.
The ECRL predates the changes of government in power, when it was canceled in August 2018 after Pakatan Harapan came to power. The ECRL project was relaunched in April 2019, with a cost reduction of 32.8% to RM44 billion. This meant its cost per km figure was reduced to RM68.7m from RM95.5m per km.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has urged the Ministry of Transport to hold discussions with stakeholders to determine reasonable prices for ECRL fares so that these are similar to ETS fares by KTM Berhad, which is considered user-friendly. , according to a separate report.
The ECRL project also has the potential to produce more local experts and skilled people in the rail industry through the Dedicated Skills Training Program (PLKI-ECRL), the Prime Minister added.
“We urge local actors to seize this opportunity to participate in the PLKI-ECRL training program which is expected to generate 5,000 new employment opportunities for East Coast youth,” said Ismail Sabri, adding that 1,800 trainees will be absorbed during construction. phase of the ECRL and the remaining 3,200 trainees will be absorbed by the operation phase of the railway project.