The Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA) has called on government to increase its funding to shore-up the infrastructural deficit in the sector.

The call was made in view of the vast economic gain to be derived from an accelerated expansion of rail transport.

The Authority has also asked the Finance Ministry to make timely releases of budgetary allocations to enable the GRDA meet contractual obligations on current projects being undertaken, to improve on facilities for enhancing service delivery that would engender public confidence in rail transport.

The GRDA made these suggestions on Monday when the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport paid a visit to the Authority to appraise itself of the challenges in the rail transport sector, and to inspect rehabilitation works on rail-lines and associated facilities in the Greater Accra Region.

The tour forms part of a programme of activities meant to enable the committee acquaint itself with the work and challenges of the transport sector and affiliated institutions.

Mr. Alidu Sadique, Acting Chief Executive of GRDA who briefed law-makers on the Authority?s constraints, said the body is faced with the problem of encroachment on rail- line reservations.

He said his outfit is tackling the issue holistically in order not to limit the scope of envisaged infrastructural growth in the sector.

The legislators took a tour of the newly-constructed Odawna and Tema Community One ultra-modern railway terminals that were envisaged to boost rail transportation in the Accra and Tema metropolis and to increase public patronage.

The GRDA is also renovating four terminals at the Tema Fishing Harbour, Asoprochona, Batsooona and Achimota.

Mr. Sadique told the Committee that the focus on construction of new terminals and rehabilitation of platforms is to encourage the concept of ?park and ride?, whereby commuters to Accra and surrounding areas would leave their vehicles in safe-keeping at designated car parks and ride on trains to their destinations.

This, he said, would reduce commuting time from Accra, Tema and outlying areas.

Mr. Michael Boampong, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bia and Chairman of the Select Committee on Roads and Transport, expressed satisfaction with the projects and called for a maintenance culture to enhance the life-span of the facilities.

He expressed dissatisfaction at the level of encroachment on GRDA facilities, particularly at the Odawna Station, and urged the authorities to reverse the situation.

The MP gave assurance that the committee will engage the sector ministry and finance ministry on the need to allocate more funds for the authority to enable it develop similar structures in other parts of the country.

Mr. Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, MP for Ejisu and the Ranking Member on Roads and Transport commended the GRDA for the level of infrastructural improvement at the passenger terminals and efforts to revitalise the railway sector.

He urged the authority to address design flaws at the new facilities, particularly the draining works at the Tema Community terminal before full operation begins.

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