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Cuenca News

Finish the tram! federation of barrios tells the mayor as CCRC says the delays are on the city and warns of long legal fight

A day after the Cuenca Federacion de Barrios (FBC) was holding a press conference insisting that Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera cut all ties with the consortium in charge of tranvía project construction, the consortium was claiming that the city has negotiated in bad faith and could face a lengthy legal battle.

Neighborhood associations demand more tram construcution.

The FBC, which had last week delivered 700 signatures demanding the city cut all ties with Four Rivers Consortium of Cuenca (CCRC) immediately, claims that tram work delays outside the city’s historic district are intolerable.

Janet Chacón, FBC president, said her organization demands that a full schedule of work begin immediately and continue until the project is complete. The FBC consists of 242 neighborhood associations.

“We join other voices in the city in demanding that local and national authorities get on with the citizens’ work to bring this project to completion,” she said. “The delays affect the quality of life of all Cuencanos and it is time to conclude the conflict with CCRC and finish the project.”

Other members of the bario association said that their primary interest was finishing the project. “We don’t care how it is done, whether with CCRC or a new contractor, we just want to see progress,” said one neighborhood president.

Although Cabrera has threatened to unilaterally terminate the CCRC contract since December, twice setting deadlines that have come and gone, city lawyers continue to examine the legal ramifications of such a move. Last week, CCRC delivered more than 2,000 pages of documents defending their position in the conflict.

Cabrera claims that CCRC unjustifiably walked off the project in October, despite the fact that it had received all payments due. CCRC claims that it has not received all the money it is owed and that changes to the project ordered by the city require additional funding and more time to complete the project.

A CCRC spokesman claimed Thursday that the city of Cuenca has acted in bad faith throughout the conflict. “The mayor began the process to end the contract unilaterally just as both parties went to mediation,” he said. “The mayor or his representatives did not even show up for some of the mediation meetings, including the most recent one.”

The spokesman called Cabrera’s grounds for ending the contract “superfluous and unfounded” and a “cover-up” of the city’s mistakes in project planning. He further claimed that the 2,066 pages of documents delivered by CCRC “demonstrates how the delays and complications of the Tram Project are exclusively the responsibility of the municipal administration, which unfortunately had severe operating problems in response to project demands.”