The LRT was first proposed in 2003 by the Macau SAR Government. After the original proposal was rejected by the public,[clarification needed] the decision to build the LRT was not made until October 2006. The LRT will improve transportation options between the Macau Peninsula, Taipa and Cotai, and relieve traffic congestion on roads and bridges. It will be the first rapid transit system in Macau.
Site investigation work started in 2008, main construction work began on 21 February 2012 in Taipa, with the Taipa section to be operating by 2019 or 2020[needs update] and Macau Peninsula section to be operating sometime by the early 2020s. Despite the official schedule, analysts did project the initial phase to not be in operation until 2017.
Phase I Line (Macau-Taipa Line)
Connecting major entry-exit points at the Macau Peninsula and the Taipa Island with residential and tourist areas. It will use reserved space in the lower deck of the Ponte de Sai Van (Sai Van Bridge) to connect to Taipa island.
Phase II Line (Loop Line)
Connecting the Barrier gate to A-Ma Temple via the inner harbour area, eventually forming a loop on the Macau peninsula.
The LRT will use Mitsubishi Heavy IndustriesCrystal MoverAPM vehicles with rubber tyres running on concrete tracks. Mitsubishi will supply 55 two-car trains that are fully automated (driverless) and utilise a rubber-tyred APM system. They will have a capacity of up to 476 passengers. The car is named Ocean Cruiser.
The estimated construction cost for Phase 1 (with 21 stations) was revised in June 2011 from MOP 7.5 billion (about US$933 million) to MOP 11 billion (about US$1,370 million) including MOP 360 million for studies, MOP 4.9 billion for rolling stock and MOP 5.74 billion for construction. The project will be financed by the Government of Macau and is scheduled to take about 48 months to complete. Construction of the Taipa section of Phase 1 started in late February 2012.
Six design packages have been awarded and the open tenders were expected to be published by October 2011, starting by the Taipa packages C250 and C260.
January 19, 2015, the Third Special Audit Report on the First Phase of the Light Rail Transit System was published by the Commission of Audit, stating that the construction of the Macau Light Rail Transit is delayed by 883 days.