Cost of building Cross Island Line and measures to ensure minimal impact on Central Catchment Nature Reserve and affordability to vulnerable populations

Parliamentary Question, 7 April 2020

https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/cross-island-mrt-line-to-run-directly-under-central-catchment-nature-reserve

Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Transport (a) what is the cost breakdown of the projected $40.7 billion needed to build the Cross Island Line (CRL); (b) whether the cost factors in (i) the depth of the tunnelling (ii) environmental protection and (iii) the distance difference between Options 1 and 2; © whether the cost includes buffers for mishaps and the cost of ensuring strict mitigation measures are being carried out for minimal to zero impact on the Central Catchment Nature Reserve; (d) whether this will mean an even higher cost of transport for public transport users since the CRL is double the cost of the Downtown Line; and (e) if so, what measures will be put in place to make the cost affordable to vulnerable populations.

Mr Khaw Boon Wan: Under our rail financing framework, the Government fully pays for the cost of building new rail lines. In other words, we do not recover the cost of building the Cross Island Line (CRL) from commuters through fares.

The CRL project is being implemented and the final costs will depend on tender bids. It is not our practice to reveal project budget so as not to influence ongoing and future tenders.

When the tender for the construction of the CRL in the vicinity of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve is called, it will clearly specify LTA’s requirements for tunnel alignment and depth, as well as the environmental mitigation measures. The latter must be taken in accordance with the project’s Environmental Monitoring and Management Plan (EMMP). The EMMP was rigorously studied and discussed with key stakeholders, including the Nature Groups, as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment concluded last year.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and climate change in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

Follow Anthea Ong on her public page at www.facebook.com/antheaonglaytheng

A full-time human, and part-time everything else.