Everything we know (and don’t know) about Costa Rica’s future rapid transit system
In 2013, then-Environment Minister René Castro called transportation the “Achilles’ heel” of Costa Rica’s carbon-neutrality ambitions. In the last two years little has changed. Vehicles are still responsible for more than half the country’s carbon emissions, and every government attempt to curb this pollution has failed.
While there are still a few programs designed to encourage people to switch to more efficient vehicles, the current government’s plan to reduce vehicle emissions hinges on the creation of a rapid transit system to serve the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM, for its initials in Spanish). With the COP21 climate talks in Paris now underway, rumors of this hypothetical project are getting thrown around quite a bit. Here is everything we know about plans for an energy-efficient GAM transportation system.
What we know
1. Electric train to run from Cartago to Orotina
2. 2018 is the deadline for the first two phases
3. Past governments have tried and failed to begin an electric train project
4. Project will cost approximately $1.4 billion
What we don’t know
1. Any details about the train at all
The government wants to build a train. It wants that train to run on electricity. So far that is all the public (and likely the government itself) knows about the project. The government is awaiting conclusions from technical studies before deciding on a final plan.
2. If a train is the best option
INCOFER is the only government entity in Costa Rica that has both the power to control public transportation and build infrastructure. Though the country’s Transport Ministry (MOPT) also has these abilities, they are separated into different councils with separate budgets. This bureaucratic organization makes it impossible for the government to consider any type of public transit system other than a train without reorganizing itself.
Though the administration has already declared its support for a train, public transport experts say it may not be the best option.
3. Where the funding will come from
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