Makkah is witnessing mega-development projects at a combined cost of more than SR300 billion ($80 billion), according to Makkah Mayor Osama Al-Bar. "The city is enjoying enormous support from the country's leaders," he says.
Al-Bar said the public transport project, including metro and buses, will make Makkah a smart city that is attractive for investors and end traffic bottlenecks during Umrah and Haj seasons.
A ministerial committee, lead by the Makkah governorate, is supervising the public transport project.
The ministers of municipal and rural affairs, transport and Haj are members of this committee.
The mayor said earlier that the SR62 billion public transport systems would bring about a dramatic improvement in the transport of pilgrims and citizens in the city.
The first phase of the project, costing some SR25.5 billion, would start by the middle of next year.
"The value of Makkah projects is estimated at SR300 billion. Of these, SR100 billion are governmental projects," he added.
All projects are in a construction stage.
They include ring roads, transport stations and parking lots as well as other private sector projects.
Other projects, belonging to the Ministry of Finance and King Abdulaziz Road, will be launched soon, he said.
The Makkah Oasis for Affordable Housing Project contains 4,332 housing units.
Of these, 523 units were delivered and 2,000 others completed and partially delivered.
The project, as a whole, will be completed soon, he said.
The affordable housing project is a new model adopted and implemented by the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon), which has a new project in the industrial zone of Jeddah, the mayor added.
On criticisms leveled against prices of housing units in the project, Al-Bar said: "A flat covering an area of 120 square meters at a cost of SR250,000 is suitable. Prices are truly affordable as they start at SR150,000 for a flat."
On the delay of payment of compensations for the expropriated properties, Al-Bar said the concerned committee was keen to iron out all obstacles in this regard as promptly as possible in coordination with all related bodies.
The mayor, however, admitted the existence of stalled projects in some provinces affiliated to Makkah governorate due to poor performance of some contractors.
In general, no stalled projects are found within the holy city of Makkah, he said.