Cuenca’s new light rail system, Tranvia de los Cuatro Rios, has become a focus of the city’s mayoral campaign.
Former Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera claims that businesses along the train route have not received adequate notice of construction plans and that their businesses may suffer as a consequence. The train system, currently under construction at a cost of almost a quarter billion dollars, is the centerpiece of current mayor Paúl Granda’s administration.
“The train could disrupt businesses and change the flow of traffic that is important for established businesses,” Cabrera said. The former mayor has also been critical of the informational train prototype on display in Otorongo Plaza, saying that the $2 million expense is not justified.
Granda, campaigning on Tuesday, called his opponent’s charges a “joke” and said that the city has been in touch with everyone affected by the tram project. He says that the train will benefit businesses, not harm them. He also said that the train display in Otorongo is necessary for public education and has attracted thousands of future passengers. “It’s ironic that my opponent is claiming that we have provided too little information in some cases and too much in others,” Granda said. “The tram is one of most important projects in the history of Cuenca and we need to make every effort to let citizens know how it will work and how it will change their lives.”
Granda also challenged Cabrera’s claim that the city has invested too much money in and near the historical district at the expense of the rest of the city.
A Granda supporter, speaking at yesterday’s rally, accused Cabrera of being beholden to bus companies. “He has never supported the tranvia because he is in the back pocket of commerical concerns,” the man said.
Photo caption: Former Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera; Tranvia de los Cuatro Rios.