The Colombian capital Bogota is set to construct its first metro line, but the project has become a political lightning rod. Many critics are questioning the $7.5 billion price tag, leading to doubts about whether the city is ready for a hi-tech transport system. CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reported this story.
Construction for the metro could begin by 2016, and if the budget is approved, the line will be operational by 2021.
“The metro project is expected to mobilize 1 million passengers in 2021, and it could approximately mobilize 2 million in 2050,” said Ricardo Salas Silva, advisor at Institute for Urban Development in Bogota.
The plans couldn’t come at a better time, as Bogota’s traffic grows worse each day. According to officials, by 2018 the public transportation system of buses will simply not be enough for the 10 million trips citizens make each day.
A proposed subway system has actually been discussed for the last 70 years. Although this is the first time engineers have actually conducted a soil study, many have asked why has officials have taken so long to make a commitment to this project.
“This has been a country of many cities, where the territory has been inhabited by many strong urban centers, and we have not had one big huge city. So in other countries where the state has more resources, the national government is the one to make the investment of a metro in the capital,” said Carlos De Roux, the councilor of Bogota Green Party.
With such a hefty price tag, the metro will need help from the government. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said there is a need for a metro and promised to provide 70 percent of the funding for the total cost of the project.
However critics say that cost is twice as expensive than originally estimated.
“That is because it is will be an underground metro, which will face soil complications especially in parts of the city that were once wetlands, so in those places we will need very expensive construction equipment. But from what I have heard from the experts, not much more expensive than the metro in Mexico City,” said De Roux.