Macau Chief Executive Chui Sai On insists he remains “confident” that the Taipa section of the city’s Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system will commence operations as planned in 2019, despite a ruling from the Court of Second Instance last week revoking the government’s contract with its construction company.
The court found that the government had violated its own guidelines in 2016 when determining which of seven applicants would be awarded the contract for completion of the LRT. The process, which saw the government assign each applicant a “score” based on their proposal, came after a contract with the original contractor was terminated due to lengthy delays.
China Construction and Engineering (Macau) Company Limited was eventually awarded the contract to complete the LRT depot in Cotai for MOP$1.07 billion, including the main building and a parking garage for docking of trains.
However, after the company that finished runner-up in the bidding process, China Road and Bridge Corporation, filed an appeal, the Court of Second Instance last week ruled that the government may have misinterpreted some of its own criteria in assessing the applications, resulting in the wrong scores being applied. The court ruled that the government must now reassess all seven applications.
Despite the setback, Chiu told local media that the government would appeal the court’s decision and was still targeting a 2019 launch for the Taipa section of the LRT.
He added that construction of the LRT would continue while the appeal was ongoing, indicating that proceedings would take some time to follow through.
The LRT is seen as a vital piece of infrastructure for operators in Cotai given the lengthy distances between many of the area’s integrated resorts. The Taipa line will initially boast 11 stops and run directly by Wynn Palace, City of Dreams, MGM Cotai, Studio City, Sands China’s cluster of the Parisian, Sands Cotai Central and the Venetian and finally Galaxy Macau before continuing on to Taipa.