Macau chief executive Fernando Chui Sai-on has bowed to public pressure and the Macau Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) over a light rail project. During his policy address on November 12, Chui announced the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) railway will adopt a waterfront route recommended by CCAC and a Macau residents' organisation, Community Development Macau, instead of passing through London Street and Porto Street as previously planned. Community Development Macau and CCAC had opposed the route through London Street and Porto Street. The LRT project, intended to serve most of Macau's urban areas and connect with the rail network of the Pearl River Delta, is suffering delays and cost overruns. A Macau government agency, the Transportation Infrastructure Office, known as GIT, is in charge of the design and construction of the light rail. In September last year, CCAC and the Macau Audit Commission issued reports criticising the project. "GIT got so much flak from the CCAC and audit reports as well as from the public, they are afraid of their own shadows now. They are afraid to make a mistake, so they won't do anything. This has delayed the project by at least two and a half years," said a source linked to the LRT project. "GIT pays great attention to and cooperates with the reports of the Audit Commission and CCAC," GIT told the South China Morning Post . GIT said it was studying the suggestions of the audit and CCAC reports, and is reporting the situation to the higher authorities. According to the Macau Infrastructure Development Office's estimate, the project is more than 18 months behind schedule. Phase 1 of the light rail was originally scheduled to start operation in 2014. "It is impossible to start operation in 2014. Construction of the Macau peninsula section didn't start yet and will not within the next six months," said a Macau engineer. Construction has begun on the Taipa section of the light rail, but work has been delayed by more than six months due to various factors such as weather and ground conditions, GIT told the South China Morning Post . The Macau peninsula section of the light rail is lagging behind the Taipa section, and GIT has commissioned consultants to study how to improve the situation, GIT said. "The reasons given for diverting the rail route were unconvincing and unscientific. The work has been too slipshod, which may lead to many technical problems during construction in future," said the CCAC report. Another reason for public dissatisfaction was the lack of co-ordination between government departments such as GIT and the Macau ministry of land, public works and transport, the report added. "In such a large and important project, GIT was inadequate in technical and management aspects. This caused many problems and contradictions. Unconvincing regulations and procedures were adopted during the consultancy stage," said CCAC. The source said: "The main problem with the project is incompetence and a lack of technical knowledge." First proposed in 2003, the budget for the LRT project was 7.5 billion patacas in 2010, up 79 per cent from previous estimates, the South China Morning Post earlier reported. Subsequently, GIT reassessed the construction budget and found it to be 11.07 billion patacas, said the Macau Audit Commission report. As of the end of 2011, the funds disbursed for one sub-project within the LRT project was 489 million patacas, 32 per cent higher than budgeted, while the funds granted to another sub-project was 386 million patacas, 45 per cent above budget, said the audit report. "There was a rather big discrepancy between the budget and the funds disbursed by GIT. Although GIT professed it had asked its employees to control costs, it did not clearly stipulate in writing the methods and scope of cost control, which risked disunity in implementation," the audit report added. In reply to the audit report, GIT said it would control costs through its "Commercial Management Plan" and was studying how to control costs.