The meeting was held urgently, within the framework of the future of the first line of the Metro, organized by the representative to the Chamber for the Cambio Radical party, Carolina Arbeláez, who convened the Accidental Commissions of the Bogotá Metro of the Council , Senate and House of Representatives.
Present at the meeting were senators Miguel Uribe Turbay and David Luna, representatives Carolina Arbeláez, Andrés Forero and Julia Miranda, and councilors Lucía Bastidas, Martín Rivera and Diego Cancino; the latter is not part of the commission.
“The Accidental Commission of the Bogotá Metro shows its enormous concern at recent reports, according to which President Gustavo Petro and the Chinese consortium have already agreed to modify the elevated Metro project regardless of execution and budget progressas well as the delays in the work and the trillion dollar cost overrun this would have,” prayed the letter circulated by participating lobbyists and congressmen.
The meeting, which lasted more than three hours, left three major conclusions:
- The Chinese consortium is not carrying out studies on modifications to the first line of the Metro; The five proposals that were known this week are part of a report that was delivered to the Government by a Chinese company that is part of the consortium responsible for the construction of the work.
- The role of the Chinese consortium is exclusively to fulfill the contract for the first Metro line; however, the fact that they are meeting with the president without informing and involving the Metro Company shows that there is a clear conflict of interest.
- All that has been said about modifications to the project are speculationsthe only real fact is the contract that is signed and that is being executed. It is not legally viable to change the object of the contract.
“This is a commission to follow up on the works of the project, I would not want to enter into a scenario of possibilities. This week a meeting with the president is called and the mayoress has invited me. I would like to wait for the results of that meeting,” he said. José Leonidas Narváez, manager of the Bogotá Metro.
The official pointed out that the project will continue to be carried out as established between the Metro Company and APCA, and that the consortium “will not be able to stop the work and is obliged to comply with the contract.”
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The members of the Commissions have expressed various questions regarding the Government’s proposal regarding undergrounding the Metro.
Among these questions, it stands out whether the possible legal implications that the modification of the project would have been taken into account, who will assume the million-dollar demands to which Bogotá is exposed due to the change of the object of the contract and how much longer will the Colombian capital have to wait to have meter.
On the other hand, the Administrative Department of the Presidency of the Republic (Dapre) announced the hiring of a law firm whose objective will be to evaluate the consequences caused by the modification of the initial design of the first line of the Bogotá Metro.
The firm Enrique Gil Botero Abogados SAS, led by the former Minister of Justice and former State Counselor, will be in charge of “developing a concept on the legal feasibility of modifying the concession contract for the first line of the Bogotá Metro, which will include, among others, the following points: i ) nature of the concession contract; ii) unilateral powers of the public administration in the framework of a state contract; iii) the ius variandi (power of the contracting party to modify) the state contract; iv) legal feasibility of modifying the layout of the Bogotá Metro to build an underground section, within the framework of the contract”, as evidenced in the contract.
The contract was signed for 119 million pesos and will run until January 30 of this year.
Among multiple reactions to the situation, those of former mayor Enrique Peñalosa and representative Carolina Arbeláez stood out, who emphasized that the government’s proposal is “a frivolous whim of President Gustavo Petro.”