5.1. The involvement of the World Bank may increase the chances for the development, formal adoption and implementation of the above strategy. First, its direct engagement in the politically difficult growth-equity rebalancing will provide an added weight to the equity camp, much needed in these growth-dominated cities. Second, Bank loans can fund the whole sequence from the design of new type of planning and investment studies, through project selection using stringent engagement and selection criteria, all the way to implementation and evaluation. The Bank’s presence would ensure that some of the more difficult policy and investment shifts are tried, evaluated and refined. The implementation of thus selected projects would re-direct immediate benefits to social sectors hitherto neglected in the current transport strategy, which is one of the Bank’s primary objectives. Fourth, given the Bank’s long history of involvement and its continuing urban and transport projects in the two states, a program approach is feasible.
5.2. The tables below shows a hierarchy of 8 project types defining an exhaustive agenda of policy initiatives and investments, based on the preceding list of strategic moves. Lower-rung options represent small-scale departures from the current practice in the Bank-funded urban and transport projects in both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The follow-up projects, now under preparation, with their adaptive design and stress on local institutions and finance, provide ready vehicles to introduce and test policy “turns” in favor of pedestrians, NMTs, public transport modes, and low-income areas. If these policies take root, free-standing urban transport projects in Chennai and Bangalore could aim at one of the higher-rung operations. The highest-rung options are provided to illustrate what may be doable (and will become necessary) in the longer term.
5.3. A project to finance a rapid busway corridor (even a network) is deemed to be of highest strategic priority in either city, as a vehicle to tackle and resolve the underlying conceptual, funding, and regulatory issues.34 Proposals for bus-based rapid transit, in the form of feasibility or at least pre-feasibility-level sketch plans and outline cost estimates, have existed for some time in both Chennai and Bangalore. These require capital investments of under $10 million for pilot projects in single corridors. Such proposals could be developed and implemented readily and rapidly.35
5.4. The next three rungs (primary roads, commuter rail upgrading, and a metro line or metro access facilities) are project possibilities for the medium-to-long term, to be considered only if the strategic change has occurred.
5.5. The table does not show any policy/investment couplings that would address the funding constraint cited above (the investment box in the last row is left blank). The introduction of a national system of road user charges with an urban transport provision could only be leveraged through a national transport project or a structural adjustment operation. The Bank is working with the Government of India on the reform of road user charges. This effort should take into account the urban transport dimension before some other arrangement is firmed up. Regarding a possible system of locally based user charges, it is premature to think of an urban transport investment in either city which would have the scale sufficient to leverage such a major policy innovation. Keeping the subject on the agenda, however, is not premature, and could be further advanced through technical assistance.