Tram project needs an additional $35 million, mayor says; request sparks city council debate as some members demand more information

Dec 1, 2015 | 6 comments

chl tram funds

The mayor says an additional $35 million is needed to keep the tram project on track.

Mayor Marcelo Cabrera wants to add an additional $35 million to Cuenca’s 2016 municipal budget for tram construction but opponents say the request offers inadequate explanation of how the money will be used.

The new city budget of $330 million, including money for the tram, was passed Sunday after first reading but faces a final vote today following second reading.

Dora Ordonez, who heads the city council Commission of Public Works, said that the request for extra tram funding lacked specifics. She has asked tram project manager Gerard Fernandez to provide them.

“What we want to know is exactly where this money is going,” she said. “We understand some details but not others.” She added that a confidentiality agreement between the city and the government of France, which is providing a 90-million euro loan, interferes with the “transparency” of the process.

Cabrera says the additional funding is essential for meeting the July 2016 deadline for project completion. According to Cabrera and Fernandez, the money is needed to reinforce bridges over the Yanuncay and Tomebamba Rivers on Av. de las in Americas, among other things.

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Council member Pamela Solís, a student at the University of Cuenca, said that the new request shows a lack of project planning and is taking money that is needed for other city services. “Again, citizens are being asked to put up more money. When does this stop?”

 

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