Tomas to push BRT bid in devt council meeting

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña will attend next month's Regional Development Council (RDC) chaired by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia if only to register his objection to the proposed Light Railway Transit (LRT) project for Cebu.He said he will also ventilate his advocacy to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Osmeña and Garcia are political rivals who have traded sharp words on a variety of issues affecting Cebu City and the province.“It's a nightmare for me to see in the future that there are going to be rotting, rusting railroad tracks in the Osmeña Boulevard and we are scratching ourselves at the back like these lampposts,” Osmeña said.While the other cities like Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu have signified their support for the LRT, he said he will not be silent on the issue. The mayor compared the LRT project to the overpriced lamppost purchase in Cebu. “I have to be heard. The important thing is that it will be a matter of public record and I want to make it clear to all these people that I am giving them a warning. We will take notes, pictures, and videos to see who voted for it,” said Osmeña who doesn’t regularly attend RDC meetings. He said that if there is evidence that the LRT project is “an anomalous transaction” they will file charges against those who voted in favor of it. Osmeña compared the proposed LRT project to the Metro Rail Transit – 3 (MRT-3) in Manila.He said the MRT which transports cargoes to and from select destinations was also offered at no cost to the recipient local government unit but the national government would subsidize it at P6.8 billion a year for 20 years.The Cebu City government has an ongoing feasibility study for the BRT funded by both Asian Development Bank and Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC). The BRT project has the support of Raul from the Land Transportation Office in Central Visayas (LTO-7). LTO-7 regional director Raul B. Aguilos.He said the LRT for Cebu City is not advisable at this time.“(Cebu City has) narrow thoroughfares. One must pass through the SRP (South Road Properties) without going through the city proper. If they have to pass through the main streets in Cebu, there would be a problem,” he said.He said the BRT would be appropriate in the next five years since it would answer the city's growing transportation needs without destroying any existing structures. Aguilos said the LRT has not solved the traffic problems along Edsa in Manila.Still, Aguilos said they would only follow orders from the national government. He said Cebu has the largest number of vehicles outside Manila. There are 67,078 vehicles registered in Cebu City and 33,513 vehicles in Lapu-Lapu City.About 69,180 vehicles are registered in Mandaue City and 32,325 vehicles in Talisay City. “With the kind of road network today, this would not be enough for the volume of vehicles that would come in especially in the next 25 years,” said Aguilos.Meanwhile, Rep. Pablo John Garcia of Cebu's 3rd district voiced objections to Osmeña's threat to file charges against supporters of the LRT. “What is his basis? He has no legal basis. If it is within the functions of the public official to support or not support and it is a matter of discretion, what does he mean? Can somebody file a case against him for supporting BRT?” Garcia said.In Cebu City, opposition figures Jonathan Guardo and Lahug barangay captain Mary Ann delos Santos said both the BRT and LRT can co-exist in the city.Guardo said a board of directors should be formed to manage the two systems. “The LRT can service the rest of Metro Cebu while BRT is for Cebu City,” he said.
(Cebu Daily News)

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