Rama on CBRT’s 1B budget gap: ‘Should not be cause of panic’
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said that the reported budget gap of P1 billion, to complete the Cebu Rapid Bus Transit (CBRT) should not be “a cause for panic.”
The city’s Chief Executive added that instead of seeking additional funding for the CBRT, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) must instead utilize available funds “wisely,” rather than fixating on securing an additional P1 billion budget for Road-Right-of-Way (RROW).
“This should not cause panic. When there is a budget gap for road right-of-way, there are alternatives. It’s not a looming darkness. I see it as a challenge, not a cause for worry,” Rama said in Cebuano during the “Ingna’ng Mayor” segment on February 8 via Cebu City News and Information.
Rama noted that the DOTr should focus on completing what is feasible, stating “Remove all worries for the obstruction. Naa pa man diha ang kwarta.”
The mayor also dismissed critics who lacked understanding of the initiative by highlighting the extensive research on the CBRT project, including its social impact and assistance measures for impacted drivers.
“Some may claim to be experts overnight, but we have a complete program. Some are only experts now because they’ve just started paying attention, or they haven’t researched how the BRT project began,” Rama expressed.
Meanwhile, the Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Co. Ltd. has been building the first package of the CBRT since last February, aiming to start operating in the first few months of 2024.
Package 1 covers a distance of 2.38 kilometers from the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) on N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building on Osmeña Blvd.
Package 2 will include routes from the Capitol to the Cebu IT Park in Barangay Lahug and from the CSBT to the South Road Properties (SRP), totaling 10.8 kilometers.
Package 3 will cover an 18-kilometer distance, connecting Cebu IT Park to Talamban and from the SRP to Talisay City.
It will incorporate a feeder line system comprising two terminals and 76 bus stops across Cebu City and Talisay.
Package 4 will cover a distance of four kilometers, featuring a route from Bulacao to Mambaling in Cebu City.
The four packages of the CBRT project have a total distance of just over 35 kilometers.
The CBRT project aims to serve 60,000 passengers daily in its first year and up to 160,000 passengers once fully operational.
The targeted date for the completion of the project is around the end of year 2026, and will be fully operational within the first quarter of 2027, according to DOTr.
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