The Cebu Light Rail Transit (LRT) project has become “absolutely indispensable” on account of the national government’s decision to construct new bridges connecting the four provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Guimaras and Iloilo,
“The integration of the four provinces is bound to spur more people to migrate to Metro Cebu in search of greener pasture, so we will definitely need those fast-moving elevated trains to move people around,” according to Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr., a deputy majority leader.
“Metro Cebu needed the LRT system years ago, long before we dreamed of putting up two to 10-kilometer bridges [connecting]the four provinces. Now that the Department of Public Works and Highways has resolved to build those bridges, we need those overhead commuter trains all the more,” Gullas said in a statement.
He added that people from as far as Panay Island will be encouraged to come to Cebu to look for jobs and other opportunities to earn a living.
“This is because we have the fastest-growing economy in the Visayas, and our P366 daily minimum wage for non-farm workers in the private sector is the highest outside Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Central Luzon,” Gullas pointed out.
A greater number of students are also likely to troop to Cebu’s higher institutions of learning, according to the congressman.
The feasibility study for the Cebu LRT project has already been completed, and is awaiting evaluation and approval of the Department of Transportation, according to Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino.
“Cebu is ready for the LRT system. It is not that we want it. We need it,” Dino told members of the Mandaue City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Gullas said the LRT project has gained traction under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, largely through Dino’s efforts.
He has been pushing for the LRT system, which his grandfather, former Cebu congressman and now Talisay City Mayor Eduardo Gullas, first proposed 10 years ago.
The younger Gullas has renewed in Congress the bill that his grandfather originally introduced, seeking to provide for an LRT system for operation in Metro Cebu, which consists of Cebu City and 12 surrounding cities and municipalities.
House Bill 787 proposes the first LRT line to run from Talisay to Mandaue but Gullas said he would support a longer line from Carcar City all the way to Danao City “if that is what gets approved by the national government.
Depending on the final length of the initial line, the LRT project is estimated to cost anywhere from P50 billion to P150 billion.
The bridges linking the four provinces is expected to cost another P50 billion.