• WB approves $64.6-M funding for bus project

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    The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a $64.6-million funding for the Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line 1 Project as a safe, reliable and comfortable ride for about 300,000 commuters daily along España Boulevard and Quezon Avenue.

    The funding forms part of the $109.4 million total project cost, the Washington-based multilateral lender said in a statement on Friday. The Philippine government will provide the counterpart fund of $44.8 million.

    The Department of Transportation (DOTr), in coordination with the local governments of Manila and Quezon City, is implementing the Manila BRT Line 1 project. It is expected to go on commercial operation by 2020.

    Like trains, BRTs run on dedicated lanes, carrying passengers in large numbers. Unlike trains that run on rails, however, BRTs deploy buses, making the system simpler and cheaper to construct, operate and maintain.

    Pioneered in Curitiba, Brazil in 1974, BRT systems are growing in popularity throughout the world for efficiency and affordability.

    From Bogotá to Boston, Cleveland to Curitiba, Hartford to Honolulu, Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Oakland to Ottawa, Pittsburgh to Porto Alegre, and São Paulo to Sydney, Ahmedabad to Jakarta, over 150 cities operate or are developing BRT.

    “By providing an affordable and convenient public transport option, this project will help make job and education opportunities more accessible, especially for the poor residing around the BRT route,” said World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick.

    “High-capacity transport systems like BRT help reduce greenhouse gases, boosting the country’s contribution to the global fight against climate change,” she added.

    The project will also develop support infrastructure along the España Boulevard-Quezon Avenue route, including bus terminals and stations, segregation barriers, sidewalks, warning and direction signs, and pedestrian crossing facilities. Women make up 55 percent of public transport users in Metro Manila.

    “Bus systems like BRT are cost-effective options for reducing emissions of harmful gases that cause climate change,” said Zhihong Zhang, senior program coordinator of World Bank’s partner on the funding, Clean Technology Fund.

    “Implementation of this project alone will prevent the release of around 2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere in the next 20 years. Transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions globally and projects like this show the road to a cleaner future,” he added.

    Managed by the World Bank, the Clean Technology Fund provides developing countries and emerging economies with resources to scale up clean technologies that have strong potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, the fund has provided $3.8 billon to support clean technologies such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and transport.

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