Nalzaro: Has LRT project passed RDC scrutiny?

Bobby G. Nalzaro

ACCORDING to a press release, a proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) project will be implemented starting next year in two phases.

The first phase will cover the Metro Cebu stretch from Carcar City in the south to Danao City in the north and comprises two lines, the central line and the airport line, which will have a bridge crossing Cebu’s mainland to Mactan island. A research, development and technical support center that will train local skills related to the rail ecosystem will be established.

The second phase will be the commuter rail. Its implementation will be subject to several factors like economic, population and future modern transport needs.

The LRT, which would be the first in Cebu, will cost around $3 billion and will be funded by a consortium of local and foreign investors under the “One belt, one road” program of the Chinese government. The implementing agency is the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

According to some experts and business leaders, the LRT is a better mass transport system compared to the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) proposed by the “former political has-been.” I hope the statement has no political color considering that the “former political has-been” and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino have been battling over the LRT and the BRT.

Again, my take on this is that whatever available options to solve the horrendous traffic problem here should be implemented.

But has the LRT project, even if it is being initiated and implemented by the private sector, passed the scrutiny of the elitist members of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7?

I ask this because some members of the RDC 7, like co-chair Kenneth Cobonpue and Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) chairman Glenn Soco, are more popish than the pope. They block and reject projects when the proponents and the implementing agency fail to submit a traffic management plan and they consider these as not a priority.

They blocked Cebu City north district Rep. Raul Del Mar’s infrastructure projects which are also aimed at solving the traffic problem saying these are non-priority projects. They castigated DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas and even wanted him relieved because he did not hold onsultations and coordinate with the RDC in identifying and implementing the said projects.

Have the proponents of this LRT project coordinated with the RDC 7 officials who are concerned with the traffic problem once construction will commence? RDC officials blocked the proposed “depressed structure” along United Nations Ave. in Mandaue City for the failure by DPWH 7 to come up with a traffic management plan. The same thing happened in the ongoing construction of the underpass in Mambaling.

Imagine the hassle and disturbance caused by this LRT project. That is why I challenge Cobonpue and Soco to come up with the same stand once the proposed LRT project reaches RDC 7. Moresulta man gihapon ni sa grabeng traffic problem Boss Glenn. Di kaha aprobahan lang dayon ni ninyo kay apil man ang inyong boss ani. Pagkatoytoy!