French govt pledges $52-M funding for Cebu City BRT
The French government pledged to allocate US$52 million as counterpart funding for Cebu City’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project during yesterday’s four-hour visit by French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Cebu City.
Rafael Yap, Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chief, said this commitment was made after he and project consultant Colin Brader gave a 20-minute BRT briefing at the Capitol at 11 a.m.
The $52 million forms part of the US $211 million loan to be allocated for the project which will install express bus lanes in major Cebu City streets by 2015.
Yap said the US $211 million loan is expected to be approved in the first or second quarter of next year.
The $52 million will be coursed through the French Development Agency or the Agence Française de Developpement represented in Cebu by its country director, Luc le Cabellac.
“The funding is confirmed subject to final loan approvals and negotiations. It has the same position as the World Bank finance,” Brader said. The AFD is one of three agencies financing the loan.
Brader earlier said that the BRT project is funded predominantly by the World Bank, the Central Technology Fund and French Development Agency (AFD).
Yap said the $211 million loan will be negotiated by the national government after it passes through the Investment Cabinet Committee (ICC) of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda)
“The President will scrutinize the BRT, then he will give the go signal. It is a good development, I suppose, because of the international exposure of our BRT,” Yap said.
Brader said Prime Minister Ayrault was particularly interested to hear that the BRT system in Nantes town, France was one of the influences for Cebu City’s BRT.
Ayrault was the former mayor of Nantes when the BRT system was implemented there.
Yap said the Nantes BRT system was a perfect fit for Fuente Osmeña, specifically on how to integrate road structures with a bus transport system.
Brader said the detailed BRT project design will be finalized this December and will include road network, bus stops and intervals and the engineering design of the buses.
“We’re very optimistic. It’s a matter of details,” said Yap referring to the outcome of the negotiations between the national government and the international lending institutions.
Yap also said they met with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) last week to map plans for jeepney drivers to be affected by the BRT system which is expected to be operational in 2015. /Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondent
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