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Two-year-old plan for electric tram revisited

Two-year-old plan for electric tram revisited

Plans for an electric-powered tram system for Phnom Penh – in the works since 2011 – are still on the table, representatives of the Cambodian and French governments said yesterday.

The plans were discussed by Foreign Minister Hor Namhong at a closed-door meeting with French Ambassador Serge Mostura, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong.

“The relevant ministries have been studying the technicalities of such a system,” said Kuong.

Feasibility studies are currently being conducted by Systra, a French urban rail engineering company.

In June last year, Systra presented some of its findings to city authorities. The company is studying the feasibility of a tram line that will run the length of Monivong Boulevard toward the Chbar Ampov commune in Meanchey district, according to a report by the municipality.

No date has been provided for the start of project, which would cost $240 million to $280 million, said the report.

Yesterday’s meeting follows talks by Prime Minister Hun Sen and Paris Mayor Bertrand Delano last week about modernising the city’s transport infrastructure.

Last September, the city gave licences to two private bus companies that could begin operating public bus lines in Phnom Penh this year.

JICA urban-planning consultant Masato Koto said developing alternative transport was critical to supporting Phnom Penh’s burgeoning population.

“By 2035, the population [in Phnom Penh] would increase by about one million – we need to think about supporting the needs of this population.”

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DANSON CHEONG

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