THE Transportation department said Thursday it is starting work on the preliminary engineering design and detailed engineering design of the 12.3-kilometer Metro Manila Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Line 1, a flagship infrastructure project.

“We are now starting the preliminary engineering design and detailed engineering design,” Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope O. Libiran told BusinessWorld in a phone message.

“Last year, this was not started due to the pandemic and lack of budget. But now that the need for public transport is very much felt, we continue to add mass transport for efficient mobility of the people,” she added.

The project, which is being implemented by the department in coordination with the cities of Manila and Quezon City, was financed via official development assistance from the World Bank.

The World Bank approved the financing for the project in 2017.

The total cost of the project is $109.4 million, with the World Bank providing $64.6 million and the government responsible for the balance of $44.8 million.

The loan for the project, according to the World Bank’s website, is set to expire on Nov. 30, 2022.

In a statement, the Transportation department said the implementation of the project, which will traverse España Boulevard and Quezon Avenue, serving about 300,000 commuters daily, is being “fast-tracked.” — Arjay L. Balinbin