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…Lagos gridlock surmountable-Commissioner

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has acquired two sets of new 10 cars Talgo 330 kilometre Per-hour, kmph, trains for the Lagos Red Line rail project.

Governor Sanwo-Olu completed the acquisition deal of the trains at a public event inside the Milwaukee facilities of Spanish train manufacturer Talgo Incorporated in the United States, on Tuesday.

The trains which will soon arrive in Lagos, Nigeria for the Red Line, a 37 km track rail project started by Sanwo-Olu, in line with his administration’s commitment to Traffic Management and Transportation of the THEMES developmental agenda.

The red line which will have 11 stations when completed, will be the first operational metro system in West Africa, designed to convey at least 500,000 passengers daily in the first phase of operation.

Sanwo-Olu at several for a specifically promised residents that the first phase of the Red Line will begin by the last quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023.

Speaking at the event, Sanwo-Olu, who was accompanied by the Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation, Dr Frederic Oladeinde; Special Adviser to the Governor on Works, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye and Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, Engr. Abimbola Akinajo expressed gladness at the eventual purchase of the two brand new trains.

According to the governor, “We are in Milwaukee to see things for ourselves in respect of the purchase of the trains. We have inspected the trains, seen their configuration and are satisfied that they fit into the tracks of the Redline in Lagos.

“A train is not something you can just go on the shelf and pick up. We are very lucky to get brand new trains. We have seen our beautiful white and red trains. Coincidentally, the rail line is called Red Line and you can see they have given us the colour. We are just going to brand it and put up our seal there. 

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“We hope that this (purchase of the trains) will be the beginning of a mutually beneficial business relationship. Providing a source of livelihood for our citizens is all about providing jobs for our people and that is what we are doing. It is about ensuring that we can build our economy; people can move from one location to another and businesses can grow.

“Part of what we have done in the last two and half years is to have what we call Integrated Urban Mass transportation system, where we will be using road infrastructure, waterway infrastructure and rail infrastructure so that we can move over 20 million Lagosians within and around the city,” he said.

The acting Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, who received Sanwo-Olu in the city, said: “It is a little bittersweet. I am sending my congratulations to the Governor of Lagos State in Nigeria, but also a little disappointed that we missed out on the opportunity to have those train sets operating here in Milwaukee and in Wisconsin.”

Also speaking the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, and President, Talgo USA Antonio Perez, said, “For us, it is important that our trains are utilised. It doesn’t make any good for the trains that we built to be stored and kept without passengers riding them.”    

Since the commencement of his administration on May 29, 2019, Sanwo-Olu has maintained his administration’s commitment to bringing the Red Line project to fruition during the lifetime of his government.

Meanwhile, Lagos State Government has said that the traffic congestion across the metropolis is surmountable as strategic interventions are being deployed to tackle the menace.

Lagos gridlock, surmountable

Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, stated this at the maiden Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1FM and the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, engagement forum, with the theme: ‘Repositioning of Traffic Information Agencies for Better Performance’, held at LTV ground, Agindigbi, Ikeja, Lagos.

Omotoso, who described the congestion in Lagos as surmountable, however, urged motorists to be patient with the state government over a series of ongoing projects across the state, saying it aimed at easing off the menace of traffic congestion.

He stressed that the project was been executed to beat the 2022 June and July rainfalls, “because this is the right opportunity of the dry season to deliver the job. We are only appealing for understanding on the part of the public on the need to exercise patience.”

Omotoso stated: “Let me say this loud and clear: I will not join the rank of those who describe the Lagos traffic as a monster, bandying all manner of suspicious findings. Lagos is not in the rank of London, which has become “the most congested” as the world recovers from COVID-19. London drivers lost last year an average of 148hours to congestion at £1,211 per driver, according to INRIX.

“The “2021 Global Traffic Scorecard” states that London tops the list, followed by Paris, Brussels, Moscow, New York, Chicago and Rome. The others in the top ten are Bogota, Colombia, Palermo (Italy) and Istanbul (Turkey).

“That Lagos is not here, not even in the first 20, means that Sanwo-Olu administration is not joking with traffic management.”

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