Fight to scrap BRT not over
“It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”
Cebu Bus Rapid Transit proponents, who are still in a celebratory mood following Tuesday’s approval of P5.67 billion extra budget for the project, may have to hold their horses a bit.
This as Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino said he will continue to lobby for BRT’s cancellation after learning that Mayor Tomas Osmeña intends to further review the project’s road-sharing system, particularly on the Banilad-Talamban corridor.
At the Ban-Tal corridor, Osmeña is pushing for a mixed-use scheme wherein the BRT units and private vehicles would share lanes.
Dino, in a phone interview yesterday, said the project should be canceled considering that the mayor, who is the main proponent of the project, is “confused” on the system.
“He himself is also confused about BRT. That's the reason why he wants the Ban-Tal to be reviewed. Maybe he realized BRT cannot work because, for us, it won't really work,” Dino said.
Dino did not further explain his means and ways to cancel the BRT, as he pointed out that the Department of Transportation is still “reviewing the project.”
Dino has been vocal about his criticisms on the BRT project after the presentation of “transport expert” Rene Santiago, who said the project will worsen the traffic congestion of the city which has narrow roads.
Dino said no matter how Osmeña reviews and modifies the BRT system, the project will not succeed in a city that has narrow roads.
“There's a further review of the project. When they see that it cannot work in Cebu, then it has to be canceled,” Dino said.
Unfazed by Dino's disapproval, Osmeña has said the city government will continue working for the implementation of the project.
“And then if you listen to Dino, he says the study of DOTr might stop the implementation. Is he the president?” the mayor said.
Osmeña said the National Economic and Development Authority Board, which approved the additional P5.67 billion budget for the lot acquisition of BRT project, is chaired by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.
Osmeña clarified that it was not during his term when the shared system along Ban-Tal was approved.
“I don't like the shared system. I want dedicated and oh, I see the light why don't they tell that to (former mayor Michael) Rama? That was their administration,” he said.
UNDERPASS AS BRT LANE
During his press conference yesterday, Osmeña also announced that he will ask the Department of Public Works and Highways-7 to assign the two-way 700-meter underpass along Natalio Bacalso Avenue to be a dedicated lane for BRT.
“Under the tunnel, only the BRT bus, dedicated,” the mayor told reporters.
Sought for comment, DPWH-7 project engineer Roy dela Cruz said the proposal will be studied by the regional director of DPWH, adding he will wait for the formal request from the city government.
Initially, Dela Cruz said, only private vehicles will be allowed to traverse the underpass.
He also said he has yet to consult local government units about their position on provincial buses passing through the underpass.
“Separate projects man na siya. When we prepared underpass, I don't think we had the BRT in mind. But I'm sure we can work hand in hand as always the case with the local government,” he said.
Dela Cruz said the department will also listen to what the mayor will propose.
He said the contractor of the underpass has been working on the project for over a month already.
He said bored piles have already been installed and soil boring test will be done soon.