President Lenin Moreno said Tuesday that the federal government will make sure Cuenca has the financial resources to complete the city’s tram system. The project, which is almost 90% complete, is two years behind schedule and awaiting a new project manager.
Moreno made the pledge in a meeting with Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera at the presidential palace.
“I am extremely pleased with the president’s support for the tranvía and also his openness to discuss a variety of problems facing Cuenca,” Cabrera said following the meeting. In addition to the tram, the president and mayor discussed plans for public housing in Cuenca, the city’s master transportation plan, improving air travel and lowering fares, and the expansion of the municipality’s electric service.
Cabrera told Moreno that the tram is $35 million over budget, explaining that the fixed prices established in the original 2012 plan were outdated due to inflation and engineering changes required during the course of construction. The original budget was for $232 million while the current estimate stands at $267 million.
The government of former president Rafael Correa donated military property to the city of Cuenca to help cover about $20 million of the budget shortfall.
Although work on the tram continues in the historic district, most construction is at a standstill until a new project manager takes charge next month, according to Cabrera. He says the project will be completed in the first half of 2018.