Colombia president insists on change to US$2.7bn metro line

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, January 26, 2023
Colombia president insists on change to US$2.7bn metro line

Representatives of Bogotá city hall, the government and consortium Apca Transmimetro are analyzing a request by President Gustavo Petro to build an underground section of the US$2.7bn metro line No. 1.

Petro wants a connection between station 8 and 72 street, although Apca said that would be legally and financially impossible.

Apca analyzed five options and delivered a report to Petro, saying that a 3.9km extension and three additional stations for line No. 1 are the most viable option, mayor Claudia López told a press conference.

She added the consortium said this option would not change the contract and carry fewer legal risks, add no more than 50% of the original value and increase potential passenger numbers.

But López claimed the proposal would add 12tn pesos (US$2.64bn) and prolong construction by six years.

The other four alternatives, including the one Petro favors, were discarded for legal and economic reasons.

According to López, Petro proposed modifying the contract, but Apca warned of risks.

“We have two conflicting versions, the one from the concessionaire who says that it is not legally viable because the bidding rules would be changed and the one from … the president who says the opposite. We will continue the analyses,” López said.

The public prosecutor’s office will review the proposed modifications and highlighted potential risks related to longer construction, higher design costs, forex volatility, uncertainty about property that has already been expropriated, possible deterioration of heritage and reduced mobility.

López said the government should integrate the Regiotram del Norte light rail and three cable cars into a development program to secure funds if Petro’s option is implemented.

"It is not in the interest of Bogotá and Cundinamarca department that they replace one investment with another. If we reach an agreement, it must be about all three," López said, adding that the government must assume the costs resulting from a possible modification of the metro route.

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