The Transportation department is putting the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project – touted as a solution to the city’s traffic problems — on hold given a rival light railway proposal.
“The Department of Transportation (DOTr) believes that a review must be undertaken and that concerns raised must be addressed, so as not to cast any doubt on the integrity of the project,” the department said in a statement issued late on Wednesday.
Last week, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said that while the BRT was already nearing implementation, a railway was conceptually better given Cebu’s narrow streets.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) subsequently clarified that Pernia was expressing a personal opinion and added that the railway project would still have to undergo an extensive review.
The NEDA said that Pernia, after expressing his views, had met with Presidential Assistant Michael Dino who is pushing for the railway project.
Dino’s proposal calls for a light railway running from the south of Cebu that transitions into a subway traversing the city center and back to a surface line going north.
“Pernia personally found this proposal conceptually better than the BRT,” the NEDA said.
The agency, however, said the Socioeconomic Planning chief had no power to shelve the BRT project. It said that any big-ticket deal, along with a complete feasibility study, would have to be presented first to the concerned line agency.
The NEDA also said the Pernia had noted that the BRT proposal had yet to be submitted to the Transportation department or the NEDA itself.
The DOTr, for its part, said that its decision would be “anchored on … [the department’s]aim to enhance mobility and connectivity in the country, and to put the convenience of the riding public, on topmost priority.”