Additional P5.67-B budget allocated for BRT

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ALLOCATION FOR the bus rapid transit (BRT) project in Cebu City is now P16.3 billion after the approval of an additional P5.67 billion, mainly for right-of-way costs. Rafael Christopher L. Yap, head of the BRT Project Implementation Unit, said he was informed by Transportation Assistant Secretary Arnold Fabillar that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the additional funds during a meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday. “This is the final approval, so BRT Project is really a ‘GO’ project,” reads part of Mr. Fabillar’s text message to Mr. Yap. “The Board’s approval signifies a confirmation of BRT’s viability for Cebu City despite recent criticisms leveled against its implementation. It also signifies the commitment to the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program of infrastructure development which the Cebu BRT project is part,” Mr. Yap said. He explained that the increase in project cost was due to the passage of Republic Act 10752 or The Right of Way Act, which requires government implementing agencies to offer the market value of properties to be acquired for infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, the Cebu City council passed several resolutions on Tuesday relating to the traffic situation, including the submission of a copy of the BRT feasibility study. Councilor James Anthony R. Cuenco, in a privilege speech, said he found out that the feasibility study has been marked “confidential.” He stressed that it should be made public and that the council members should have access to it for review. — The Freeman