THE Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that the sum of N150 billion would be required to fund the entire rail network planned for the state, among them the red and blue lines being constructed and expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.
Sanwo-Olu said this on Friday, January 28, 2022 on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He said, “We are looking at N150bn to complete the red and blue lines. That is a bucket number that we are able to raise from the debt market.”
He explained that the government considered local borrowing, single-digit of 10-15 years with the knowledge that the rail could last 30 years or more.
“Failure to do that and inflation would catch you years down the line. We need to take the hard decision now and make it sure,” he said.
The governor said his administration was determined not to transfer the cost of the project to the people, adding that what would be passed on was the maintenance cost to sustain the train infrastructure. He envisaged a fare of N200-N300 per passenger for the train rides.
“A rail car can take 150-200 people. The cost will come down and it will be affordable. At the top of my head, a cabin would not be more than N200- N300. The fare structure certainly cannot be more than what obtains on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line today. For it to be accessible, affordability is critical.
“At best, if our operators say it should be expensive, we can give them a longer tenure but keep it affordable,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu assured that the Mile 2 to Okokomaiko stretch of the ongoing Badagry road construction would be ready before June 2022.
“We are doing a 10-lane highway on that corridor. We are completing the stretch to Okokomaiko before the second quarter this year with a lot of bridges and overpasses. Mile 2 to Okokomaiko would be completed fully. From Okokomaiko to Agbara, the Federal Government is working with a construction company to do that and they are onsite as we speak.
“We took an audacious position to build the road. We moved it from a four-lane to a 10-lane highway. We have three jetties already in Badagry and that means you can move from Ikoyi, Liverpool to Badagry in 20, 25 minutes.”
The governor assured that the rail line would be completed by year-end, adding that terminals and stations would be ready around the fourth quarter, while test runs would begin in March 2023.
The state government has already acquired two intra-city trains for its red line metro project. The trains were originally intended for use in the United States of America to connect Madison and Milwaukee, but it was later abandoned.
Similarly, the government has acquired three more trains for the blue line rail project. All timelines are set for the end of 2022, with the trains to be utilised from early 2023, the governor stressed.