P4.8-B Metro bus rapid transit a go
The P4.8-billion Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line 1 connecting Manila and Quezon City will be a go, with the loan agreement with the World Bank loan to be signed before the year ends.
National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) documents showed that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in a Sept. 14 letter recommended that the Department of Finance (DOF) proceed to sign the loan agreement as well as request an extension of the loan effectiveness deadline from the Washington-based multilateral lender.
For its part, the World Bank in a Sept. 15 letter told the DOF that it allowed an extension, on exceptional basis, of the period to sign and establish loan agreements for the BRT project.
The World Bank provided Dec. 18 this year as the latest date for loan effectiveness, Neda said. The earlier deadline to execute the loan agreements was on Sept. 16.
The World Bank as early as March last year approved a $64.6-million loan to build the first BRT system in Metro Manila.
The combined loan from the World Bank, the Clean Technology Fund and the French aid agency Agence Française de Développement worth $89.5 million (P3.9 billion) will account for the bulk of the total project cost of $109.4 million, with the remaining P870.6 million to be funded from the national budget.
According to Neda, the BRT project “involves the provision of a mass transport system along the España-Quezon Avenue-Commonwealth Avenue corridor through high-capacity buses running on exclusive lanes.”
“It seeks to provide preferential journey times for public transport, as well as improve the level of service to the passenger while in vehicle, waiting for the vehicle, and making their way to and from the vehicle. Through the conversion of largely sub-Euro vehicles to Euro IV, the project will also bring an unquantified reduction in emissions along the corridor with resultant improvement in local air quality. Further, there will be a total greenhouse gas emission saving of 6.21 million tons over 30 years, or an average of 207,000 tons per year,” according to Neda.
For its part, the World Bank had said that the project would provide safe, reliable and comfortable rides for about 300,000 commuters daily along España Boulevard and Quezon Avenue.
This BRT line will be implemented by the DOTr in coordination with the Manila and Quezon City governments and is targeted to begin operations in 2022.
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