Economic managers push Cebu Bus Rapid Transit
Economic managers wanted the delayed Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to push through, with the Cabinet-level Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) approving its implementation as part of a bigger transport system in the province.
“The Cebu BRT was green-lighted by the ICC-CabCom (Cabinet Committee) to get moving—to be complemented in due course by other modes for an intermodal system,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said in a text message late Friday.
Besides the Cebu BRT, the National Economic and Development Authority’s ICC-CabCom also approved the following: reevaluated Davao City Bypass Project, Panguil Bay Bridge scope and cost increase, and flood risk management projects for Cagayan, Imus and Tagoloan rivers, Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said in a separate text message.
The Neda ICC-CabCom, chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III and cochaired by Pernia, met on Friday to break the impasse on the stalled implementation of the P16-billion Cebu BRT.
The Neda Board under then President Aquino approved the Cebu BRT in 2014 but the project has been encountering delays.
Last year, the Neda ICC reviewed the Cebu BRT project “as part of the DOTr’s (Department of Transportation) request for additional budget for the right of way since the new national law on right of way acquisition now required the use of market price,” the World Bank noted in a report last month.
“Since January 2018, the project has been put on hold by the DOTr following concerns about its viability given narrow street and increased congestion in Cebu… The project continues to benefit from strong support at city level,” according to the World Bank.
In 2014, the World Bank approved a $141-million loan for the project, aimed at helping Cebu, the country’s oldest city, reduce pollution and traffic, create jobs, and make the area a more attractive investment destination.
The World Bank loan will augment the $87.5 million earmarked by the government for the project.
The Washington-based multilateral lender expects construction of the 23-kilometer Cebu BRT completed by October 2020.
The BRT system is expected to carry 330,000 passengers daily.
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