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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, May 19) – The Temaru government has given a green light to developing a 54 billion French Pacific franc (US$593 million) project to revamp Papeete's waterfront with a proposed ultra-modern tramway or monorail system and harbor station.

The project has the main objectives of alleviating the crowding and congestion in French Polynesia's capital and providing a showcase for Tahiti and Her Islands to visitors.

There are two stages to this ambitious project that stem from proposals made in December by a combination of four architectural and urban development firms. The first stage, from 2006-2009, calls from coming up with 23 billion French Pacific francs (US$253 million) in public financing. The second phase will require 31 billion French Pacific francs (US$341 million) in public financing.

As voted by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, the financing of the project will be divided between the territory's government, the Papeete Port Authority and the Papeete City Hall.

A new freeway, Tahiti's third, would bring the increasingly heavy four-times-a-day motor vehicle traffic from Tahiti's west coast in and out of Papeete by bypassing the Tahiti-Faa'a International Airport on the lagoon side.

Tahiti's first tramway or monorail system would provide a 16 km (9.9-mile) link between the Outumaoro section of the island's west coast Commune of Punaauia and the Commune of Arue, the second commune on the other side of Papeete.

The harbor station would be designed to handle the large volume of shuttle boat and ferry traffic between Papeete and Tahiti's sister island of Moorea and the outer islands. The maritime station, serving the same needs as a train station, would be located next to the Port of Papeete's new passenger ship t-shaped docking areas.

But the green light from the Temaru government's Council of Ministers means only that a final study can now begin, specifically detailing the type and cost of construction that will be involved.

Instead of choosing one of the four projects submitted in December, the council picked what it considered were the best aspects of each. It's now up to planners for the territory and the city to come up with a final project that will have to be approved and budgeted for.

May 22, 2006

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2

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