Monday, June 21, 2021

DOTr seeks BRT loan extension

INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade (left), Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia (center) and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino (right) hold a press conference to update Cebuanos on the Bus Rapid Transit project which remains unimplemented till now. / AMPER CAMPAÑA

THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) is seeking an extension of its multibillion-peso World Bank loan for Cebu’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system as the loan is set to close about a month from now on June 30, 2021.

In a press conference in Cebu City on Thursday, May 6, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said he has met with the World Bank and submitted a proposal.

“I have met with the World Bank. When we say that there will be partial operability (of the first package by December 2021), we are hoping that this will be acted upon. The approvals needed from Neda (National Economic and Development Authority), those loan arrangements needed from the World Bank will be finalized,” he said in Tagalog.

Based on initial information, the DOTr is seeking a two-year extension of the loan.

The P16 billion BRT loan took effect on Dec. 3, 2014 and is among the four loans under the infrastructure sector projects that were contracted from 2014 to 2018.

The loan will close by next month with the project still unable to avail of it as of Dec. 31, 2019.

Despite delays in the civil works, Tugade assured that the first package of the BRT project will be operational in part by December 2021.

Its civil works were supposed to start on the first week of April this year.

Mark Steven Pastor, DOTr assistant secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure, said they are expecting to award the contract for the civil works of the project within two weeks to one month from now (or by June 2021.)

“The procurement process happened on April 10 and the bids/procurement process are under evaluation now. I think in the next couple of weeks or a month, it will be awarded,” said Pastor in Tagalog.

“Based on those timelines, we will be able to hit the target partial operability this December,” Pastor added.

BRT phases

The first package of the BRT project will cover 2.6 kilometers to three kilometers of a dedicated bus lane from the Cebu South Bus Terminal to the Capitol area and encompass four stations including Capitol, Fuente, Cebu South Bus Terminal, and Cebu North Bus Terminal.

The Cebu BRT has funds amounting to US$198 million both from the World Bank and the French government, through the Agence Francaise de Developpement.

Meanwhile, Phase 2 will run from Bulacao, Talisay, to Talamban, Cebu City and is expected to be completed by March 2022.

There will be three feeder stations: Talamban to Cebu IT Park, Talisay to Mambaling and Talisay to the South Road Properties.

The BRT is part of the planned Integrated Intermodal Transportation System (IITS) in Cebu. The IITS, initiated by the DOTr, targets the integration of the BRT, monorail system and cable car system.


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