Monorail project may see light of day before Duterte term ends

WILL Cebuanos see the monorail intended to decongest traffic, built in Cebu before President Rodrigo Duterte completes his term in mid-2022?

“It’s possible,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told SunStar Cebu Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, when asked if construction could at least start before Duterte’s departure. “It depends on how fast the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) works on the project.”

The elevated monorail project of tycoon Dennis Uy’s Udenna Infrastructure Corp. is scheduled for evaluation by the Neda-Investment Coordination Committee (Neda-ICC) after the Department of Transportation completed the submission of the proposal, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino said Wednesday.

The Neda-ICC Technical Board is set to review the proposal by the second or third week of February, after which it would be submitted to the Neda-ICC’s Cabinet Committee.

“What’s good about the monorail system, according to the Neda, is that it’s not a system that you would have to dig underground, that would take ages to dig. This one is on top of the main road,” Andanar said.

Funding for the project could possibly come from “the taxes of the people, a government-to-government grant or loan, or a private and government partnership,” he said, when nudged about Duterte’s promise last Jan. 19 to look for funding for Cebu’s train.

The monorail system and another Cebu project, a fourth bridge to link the Cebu mainland with Mactan Island, are projects being pushed to solve Cebu’s congestion problem.

The two big infrastructure projects are crucial to sustaining Cebu’s economic expansion in the coming years, said Neda Central Visayas Director Efren Carreon.

The Neda Board confirmed the Neda-ICC’s approval of the P76.41 billion fourth bridge project on Jan. 29, 2020.

“This will help decongest traffic because people from the north will soon be using this instead of using the first bridge,” Carreon told SunStar Cebu.

The first two bridges connecting mainland Cebu to Mactan start in Mandaue City in the mainland located north of Cebu City. Mactan is where the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and most of the big resorts are located.

For Cebu’s residents in the south, the Metro Pacific Group is now building the third bridge, called the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, linking Cebu City in the mainland to Cordova on Mactan island. This bridge is expected to be completed in 2021.

The fourth bridge project, on the other hand, involves the construction of a 3.3-kilometer bridge with an elevated viaduct of 3.385 kilometers, with two lanes in each direction. It also includes the construction of a 4.9-kilometer four-lane coastal road with a 4.751-kilometer elevated viaduct. Interchanges will be built at the linkage between the two projects in Mandaue City.

As for the unsolicited monorail proposal, Dino earlier said he was asking Neda to give it a nod, as he was eyeing partial operability of the rail system by 2022.

The P80 billion monorail project will traverse Cebu City all the way to the MCIA in Lapu-Lapu City for its first phase. The second phase will run from Talisay City to Mandaue City, while the third phase will be from Carcar City to Danao City.

It will serve as the mass transport backbone of Metro Cebu.( CTL, CSL)