Rivers state government is pulling all the stops to make the Monorail transportation system which is meant to decongest Port Harcourt and also alleviate traffic problems a reality. In an interactive session with stakeholders during the Ministry of Transport Public Forum with its theme ‘The Rivers Monorail Project and the Future of Public Transportation in Rivers State; Issues, Challenges and Way Forward’’ event in Port Harcourt, the Commissioner for Transport, Mr. George Fubara Tolofari said Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s vision is for Greater Port Harcourt to become a world class city and for Rivers State to expand its role as oil and gas capital of Nigeria and Africa.
Mr. Tolofari opined that the system will meet the highest international standards of technical excellence, harness the energy and efficiency of the private sector and have broad social and political acceptance and facilitate economic growth and urban renewal in line with the Greater Port Harcourt City Master Plan. He stated that to manifest its decision, the State government agreed with TSI Holdings to establish the Rivers Monorail Company. The transport boss pointed out that progress on the implementation of the project by the Monorail company has reached a stage where the State Ministry of Transport sought a suitably qualified experienced, reputable international railway engineering consulting firm to review work done, make a detailed feasibility study and provide project management and technical support services to the Ministry of Transport.
On March 1, 2011, the Ministry of Transport appointed Arcus GIBB to review the project, now under construction in Port Harcourt and develop a business case for it, and investigation was completed December 2011. January 1, 2012, the state government and Ministry of Transport appointed Arcus GIBB as client representative, consultant for phase 1A Sharks Park to UTC junction. According to him, the state reform process has four sectors which include infrastructural development, that have monorail transportation system, construction of (four )terminal for all interstate public transportation, construction of bus stops and lay-bys; enactment of the Rivers State Road Traffic Law No. 6 of 2009; set up of TIMARIV, proposed bill to set up Rivers Transport Authority and regulation of public transportation, capacity building amongst others .
Officials have said the controversial abandonment of the project by partners was due economic meltdown .The new company TSI has 80 percent while Rivers government has 20 per cent equity under the Public Private Partnership arrangement .And so far N11 billion has been spent .The ‘Monorail will be fully be operational December 2013,the official said.
Also speaking the Controller General of the Rivers State Road Traffic Management Authority [TIMARIV], Nelson Jaja while narrating his challenges ahead called for re-orientation and education of commercial vehicles drivers, government officials to create more parks for motorists, and proper review of laws including the support of private sector.
Guest lecturer, Director Ministry of Transport, Marine Engineering Department, Senibo Wilkingson George in paper titled Investment Opportunities in the Maritime Sector of Rivers State said the state government has acquired five modern water taxis to boost maritime transportation and wants to partner with interested foreign investors to provide effective ferry services.