After eight years of intense politicking and negotiation, federal government has approved the construction of the $2.4 billion Lagos Red Line Rail Project.
The Lagos State commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Dayo Mobereola who made the disclosure at the weekend in a chat with newsmen said approving the right of way for the project had been a problem for years.
He said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led federal government in the last administration was foot-dragging in approving the right of way which belonged to the Nigeria Railway Corporation, NRC.
According to him, it took Lagos four and a half years to get approval for the project and another four years for discussion on the technicality of the project.
“It took us four and a half years to get approval for the project. It took us another four years to get them to discuss the technicality of the project with us. The right of way has been approved and we are in full discussion with the bidders,” he said.
On the Blue Line Light Rail project, the commissioner stated that the government would complete it by the end of 2016.
He said Lagos was the only state in the world to have embarked on such project without support from the federal government, adding that such projects normally take around seven years to complete.
The commissioner said it took Dubai, with all its resources seven years to complete its rail project and in some places, 22 years.
“We are mindful of the problem of transportation in Lagos State. Towards the end of next year, something will happen. Our rail project is 27 km and we are doing it in phases. We are doing Mile 2 to CMS now and we will do Mile 2 to Okokomaiko later,” he said.
Mobereola added that the first train, a 4-county was purchased this year and that government would bring it on board to test-run the rail system from Mile 2 to CMS.
He said his vision as commissioner for Transportation was to make public transportation safe, reliable, accessible and comfortable in such a way that people would leave their vehicles behind and take mass transit buses to and from their destinations.
According to him, there was the need to develop mass transit transport scheme for the benefit of the teeming population of Lagos.