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Puerto Rico Mass Transporation To Begin

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  • Puerto Rico Mass Transporation To Begin

    Urban Train To Begin Operations In September 2003

    September 4, 2002
    Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS.
    All rights reserved.

    (AP) - The first phase of the Urban Train, from San Juan to Bayamon, will be up and running by September 2003, 15 months earlier than had been scheduled, said Jose Izquierdo, secretary of the Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP by its Spanish acronym).

    Izquierdo said 16 stations will be completed by February 2003, but that a six-month try-out period will follow to test the system.

    The final cost of the train will reach the $2.1 billion mark, an increase of $600 million over the original cost presented during the past administration.

    An educational campaign will begin next month to convince citizens of the benefits of using the Urban Train as a means of public transportation.

    The engineer also announced the departmentís decision to replace the project of expanding the train from Sagrado Corazon University to Minillas Center in Santurce with that of an expansion from Rio Piedras to Carolina.

    According to Izquierdo, the decision was based on the cost and benefit of both options.

    Expanding the project in Santurce would have meant an investment of $500 million to serve the needs of 20,000 users.

    Whereas to do it from Rio Piedras to Carolina would cost $800 million, half of which will come from federal funds, and will serve 85,000 users.

    The 20,000 users en route from Sagrado Corazon to Minillas will benefit from other improvements in public transportation as a public bus traffic light system will be established on the route. The system switches the traffic light to green on sensing that the bus is nearby, thus avoiding a delay in traffic for public transportation users, Izquierdo noted.

    The secretary denied allegations that the decision was based on politics, stating that, at present, the department is working "hand in hand" with the municipal administrations of both Bayamon and San Juan, both run by New Progressive Party mayors.

    In San Juan, the DTOP will fund a shuttle system to and from the Rio Piedras Medical Center, while in Bayamon the shuttle will operate from the urban center and the San Pablo hospital center to the station.

    Izquierdo made his statements during an afternoon ceremony to inaugurate the Urban Trainís first completed station in Bayamonís Jardines de Caparra neighborhood.

    There Izquierdo welcomed half a dozen members of the New Progressive Party who arrived, with banners in hand, stating that the station and the train itself were another "development of former Gov. Pedro Rossello and Carlos Pesquera." Another banner had the logo of Superman but said "Super Pesquera."

    Kindly, Izquierdo gave the group a warm welcome and recognized the labor of his predecessor.