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IDB approves $200 million for integrated mass transit system in Cali, Colombia

The Inter-American Development Bank today approved a $200 million loan to Colombia to help finance the modernization and integration of the mass transportation system of the city of Cali.

The program will include the building of special road corridors to carry passengers on high-capacity buses that will be connected to secondary lines and complementary corridors, which will offer passenger service with lower-capacity vehicles.

An operations center will apply planning, control and monitoring mechanisms to regulate the frequency and number of vehicles in service in accordance with supply and demand.

The program, known as Sistema Integrado de Transporte Masivo (SITM – Integrated Mass Transit System) will be carried out by the Ministry of Transport and MetroCali S.A., a special purpose company that belongs to the city of Cali. MetroCali is in charge of the design, building and launching of the SITM.

The IDB executive director for Colombia, Luis G. Echeverri, commented that the project signified an important infrastructure investment that will repeat the success of the mass transit system in Bogota. He said the program demonstrated the contribution of the IDB to financing initiatives of subnational entities.

During the execution of the program MetroCali will evolve from being a construction and startup company to the agency responsible for operating and regulating the SITM.

The main services for the SITM will be supplied by the private sector, whose administrative and operational costs will be covered by transportation fees.

The SITM will carry 880,000 passengers a day on 180 high-capacity buses and 852 conventional buses. It will connect low- and middle-income areas of Cali with areas that offer job-generating activities and social services, improving service quality, reducing travel time and accidents and increasing service efficiency and reliability. The project will also help improve public spaces by enhancing the SITM’s collector streets and access roads, bikeways, traffic lights and road safety. Better traffic organization, reduced congestion and better use of urban spaces will improve the quality of life in Cali.

The IDB, in addition to financing, provided technical assistance  to improve the design and public consultation process for the project. Metrocali have an SITM  audit committee and citizen’s participation and oversight.

The Cali SITM will build on the successful mass transportation experiences of Curitiba, Brazil, and Bogotá, Colombia, which also have integrated systems using high-capacity buses on dedicated corridors. The IDB helped finance the Curitiba system and is contributing to the financing and design of a mass transit system for Lima, Peru.

The total cost of the  program is $300 million.

The IDB loan is for a 20-year term, with a five-year grace period, at a floating interest rate. Local counterpart funds are $100 million.

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