REP. Eduardo R. Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) believes that his proposed Light Rail Transit-Mono Rail Transit (LRT-MRT) project in Cebu will only suffer a temporary setback, following the objection of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Gullas is optimistic that new and young leaders, who may assume the helm of the Cebu City Government in the years to come, may embrace and see the importance of this major infrastructure project.

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He made this revelation during the testimonial dinner on the eve of the ninth Charter Day celebration of Talisay City last Monday.  

But in the meantime, he said, the project may stall because of Osmeña’s objection.

Osmeña prefers the Bus Rapid Transit system over LRT to be implemented in Cebu City.

The mayor has been at loggerheads with Gullas, following Talisay City’s claims on a portion of the South Road Properties.

The claim was made during Gullas’ stint as Talisay mayor.

Gullas has been pushing for the three-phased LRT system project by consistently re-filing House bills since the 10th Congress.

In the opening session of the 14th Congress on July 2, 2007, Gullas re-filed a new version of House Bill (HB) 310—an act providing for the establishment of the Cebu LRT system and for operations in Metro Cebu.

He filed his original HB 7479 for the project in 1996 yet.

Gullas believed that Cebu is the most viable highly urbanized city, next to Manila, to have a modern LRT system.

In his proposal, the first LRT line will traverse the national highway in Talisay City, passing by Cebu City, before heading straight towards Mandaue City, a distance covering 19 kilometers.

Missing link

A railway will also be set up from Talisay City to Dalaguete in the south, and another line from Mandaue City to the northern town of Sogod.

The National Economic Development Authority, however, needs an endorsement from Cebu City because it is the link between Talisay City and Mandaue City in the first LRT component.

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) plans to construct an LRT lane along N. Bacalso Ave. in Cebu City this year.

The DOTC said the LRT lane will not eat up a big portion of the highway because it will be constructed overhead and side-by-side with the flyover.

Gullas and DOTC officials see the implementation of the LRT as the most effective way to decongest traffic and to keep pace with the rapid population and economic growth in Cebu.

As estimated by the AMA Group Holdings Corp., the project proponent, the Cebu LRT-MRT project will cost US$602 million.

The AMA group will implement the project under a build-operate-transfer scheme.

Gullas said this scheme will be at no cost to the National Government because the AMA group will raise the funds, implement the project and operate the project for 25 years.

If plans don’t miscarry, the Cebu LRT project will be the country’s ninth and the first outside Metro Manila.