The government has given the go signal to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to establish a high quality, viable and sustainable bus rapid transit system in Cebu through the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.
In a statement, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it has approved the funding strategy and also issued a Forward Obligational Authority (FOA) to the DOTC for the Cebu BRT project amounting to P9.48 billion.
The DBM said the BRT project would provide a safer, more efficient, and environment-friendly mode of travel in and around Cebu City. It said that the project is part of the government’s continuing investments in transport infrastructure to further expand economic development.
Once completed, the project will give Cebu’s commuters a fast, comfortable and cost-effective mode of transportation, according to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
“We want to enhance urban mobility in Cebu by establishing a high quality, viable and sustainable bus rapid transit system. The main idea here really is to emulate a modern rail-based transit system at a much lower cost,” Abad said.
As approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, the DBM noted that the Cebu bus rapid transit system will be undertaken this year and finished in 2018, with a total project cost of P10.62 billion.
The DBM explained that the FOA it has issued covers P9.48 billion of the project cost—a combination of the national government contribution and loan proceeds—in accordance with the approved funding strategy submitted by the DOTC.
“This Forward Obligational Authority will allow the government to process the loans for the project. The FOA will also help us in avoiding unnecessary commitment fees along the way,” Abad added.
The DBM said that loan proceeds, on the other hand, would come from Agence Francaise de Development, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Clean Technology Fund.
The remaining P1.14 billion will be shouldered by the private sector and will be mainly utilized for the purchase of the needed motor vehicles, it said.
“Aside from improving public access to transportation, we also want to further stimulate the economic activity in the city. The implementation of the project alone will open up various employment opportunities for the construction and manufacturing sectors,” Abad said.
He added that the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project represents the government’s efforts to cultivate a more vibrant economic environment for cities outside Metro Manila.