A TRANSPORTATION official said they have asked the World Bank and French Development Agency (AFD) to extend the validity of the loan worth $173 million intended for the construction of the long-awaited Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

In an interview on Monday, February 20, Transportation Undersecretary Mark Steven Pastor said they had to negotiate with the World Bank and AFD to extend the loan’s validity in order to finance the project, which is set to break ground on February 27.

“We have resolved the funding issue for the Cebu BRT, but it’s just that for this year, we are in negotiations with the World Bank and AFD in terms of loan extension,” Pastor said.

“We have two loans: AFD will expire on March 31, World Bank will expire on June 30. It’s just a matter now of how many years and what are the parameters. This is a negotiation of the DOTr (Department of Transportation) with Neda (National Economic and Development Authority) and the DOF (Department of Finance),” he added.

The AFD granted the Philippine government a loan worth $57.4 million for the project.

In 2014, the World Bank also approved a $116 million loan to fund the mass transport system for Cebu City.

The project has been delayed for a decade already due to various issues, including politics..

Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Ltd. was awarded by the DOTr with the Package 1 contract for the BRT project. Package 1 will run from Cebu Capitol through Osmeña Boulevard, and right to Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave.

The BRT is a 13.180-kilometer bus lane from Mambaling to Cebu IT Park. It is expected to cater to about 160,000 passengers per day.

The project is expected to be in full operation in 2025. (SunStar Philippines)