Bengaluru

Approval for ‘innovative funding’ might put Light Rail Transit System on track

Nearly a decade after it was proposed, the 42-km Light Rail Transit System (LRTS) is gaining momentum after the cabinet on September 1 approved ‘innovative funding’ to execute the project.

The funding mechanism is similar to that announced by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday for the Namma Metro network between Silk Board junction and K.R. Puram.

Urban Development Department (UDD) officials are waiting for modalities from the Bangalore Airport Rail Link Ltd (BARL) – which is attempting to implement the project – after which the ‘Western Crescent’ corridor can be notified ( see gfx ) . Once notified, premiums, cesses and other levies from new projects in this corridor will be collected and used to fund the Rs. 11,500 crore infrastructure project.

C. Jayaram, Director (Projects), BARL, said the details will be put forth before the cabinet within two weeks. “Once the corridor is notified, we can set up instruments to raise funds for the project. We can charge a premium for the Floor Area Ratio within 500 metres of the stations while a fee can be imposed on projects proposed in the vicinity of the line. As the project will see a rise in property rates in the area, we can levy a small fee to fund this project,” he said.

The project had been conceived in 2007 as a part of the Comprehensive Traffic and Transportation Plan for the city. The LRTS aims to criss-cross the city along the ring road from J.P. Nagar to Hebbal (nearly 32 km) as well as an 10-km extension along Magadi Road from Toll Gate to the NICE Road.

Having made its debut in the 2010 Global Investor’s Meet, the LRTS was showcased again at Invest Karnataka 2016 after suitable modification to suit the ‘sentiments’ of potential investors. Officials said two private companies had expressed in the project but could not initiate discussions as the project had not been approved by the Finance Department.

Light Rail Transit System

JP Nagar to Hebbal on Outer Ring Road

Distance: 31.3 km

Stations: 24

Magadi Road Toll gate to Peripheral Ring Road

Distance: 10.6 km

Stations: 11

Construction

59.03 acres of private land to be acquired

205.6 acres of government land needed

Project to be elevated

Primarily along medians of main roads

Expected time for completion: four years

Cost: Rs. 11,500 crore

Private players expected to bear 40 per cent of cost

Difference with metro

Can climb gradient of 11 per cent while Metro is barely 4 per cent

Stations are smaller

Trains will have three coaches

But frequency can be 90 seconds

Projected commuters

2027: 7.44 lakh

2050: 13.26 lakh

Raising funds

State attempting to raise money by notifying corridors along route

5,024 acres can be notified

Premium on Floor Area Ratio for those redeveloping within corridor

Betterment fees on commercial establishments

Cess on new layouts to be used for LRTS, metro

Rs. 1,225 crore can be raised annually if 40% of properties pay up