Tuesday July 17, 2018

Osmeña wants a review on BanTal road-sharing scheme

AFTER the approval of the additional funding for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña wants a review on the road-sharing scheme along the Banilad and Talamban (BanTal) route of the project.

In his news conference yesterday, Osmeña said he wants the people to decide on the matter.

“Let the people decide, that’s how it works if they want it that way. This is I want it in the beginning because the important thing is people can see what is this (project) really about,” he said.

Critics of the project, including Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino, were concerned about the road-sharing scheme along BanTal as it is seen to worsen the already heavy traffic condition in the area.

Based on the feasibility study, the buses will have a dedicated lane from Bulacao to Ayala Transport Terminal. Once the buses reach the Bantal area, it will mix to the regular lanes.

In a separate interview, Association of Barangay Councils President Philip Zafra said that his group already expected the approval of the additional budget for BRT because the project itself had already been approved.

Zafra reiterated that most of the barangays only expressed their reservation about it because they wanted that a road widening to be implemented first to avoid the failure of the project.

“We are hoping that with the approval of the additional budget for road right of way acquisition, our suggestion will be considered,” he said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, approved last Tuesday close to P5.7-billion in additional budget for the BRT project.

When it was approved in 2014, the project had an initial cost of P10.6 billion but the amount jumped to P16.3 billion because of the new law that increased the cost of road right-of-way acquisitions.

Meanwhile, Osmeña challenged Dino to release the feasibility study of the light rail transit (LRT) project.

“Why don’t they give me the copy of the LRT, maybe I’ll help them. I’ll consider studying it, I want LRT too. Show me the study of the LRT because they said they have the study of the LRT, I think he (Dino) is lying,” Osmeña said.

If he really wants to stop the implementation of the project, Osmeña said, Dino should initiate a recall election and run against him.

“If he wins, he can stop the BRT. I will agree to a recall, that’s the best way,” he added. (RVC)