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The Beltway: A project with only RD$200 million in budgets

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SANTO DOMINGO. On Sunday a week ago, President Danilo Medina and the Minister of Public Works, Gonzalo Castillo, inaugurated the first 26.3 km stretch of the Greater Santo Domingo Beltway.

The cost of Stage I of the important project was RD$5.8 billion, according to reports.

Nevertheless the only amount which the government has documented in a public matter regarding the financing of the project is in the budgetary program for 2013 the year in which it was assigned only RD$200 million.

This budget item is registered in the budgetary assignments of that year for the Ministry of Public Works and Communications. Nonetheless, in the budgets corresponding to 2014 and 2015 reporters were not able to identify any appropriation of funds for this project.

All last week, this reporter requested from the Ministry of Public Works, through their Communications and Press Department, the answer to the question: “How was the first stage of the Beltway financed?”

At the end of the week, Juan Perez Recio, the press director of the MOPC, said in a telephone call that he has not been able to speak with Gonzalo Castillo who has been very busy. But he says that he believes that the Beltway has been financed with the income from tolls which is administered by the Banco de Reservas.

However, the information published by the MOPC, on their website reveals that during 2012, the total income for tolls only amounted to RD$835.5 million.

The most recent information published corresponds to the period between January and August 2013, in which the amount collected is listed at RD$819 million. However, in the Project they have spent more than RD$5.0 billion, according to what was announced during the inauguration event

in the background of the stands used during the inauguration of the project there was a banner with the logo reading “Road Network”. This refers to the Trust Fund created in November 2013 by the MOPC for the operation, maintenance and expansion of the highways and thoroughfares of the country, and which is administered by Reservas Trust, S. A., a part of the state bank of the same name.

The contract gives to the Reservas Trust the responsibility of collecting and managing the income from the tolls, “with transparency and efficiency,” during the next 30 years. In addition, as part of the management, they are authorized to contract debt charged to the assets of the Road Network Trust Fund, but without, presumably, a sovereign guarantee or state seal of approval.

Nevertheless, on the webpage of Fideicomiso RD-Vial (RD – Road Trust Fund), no information appears regarding the Greater Santo Domingo Beltway, except the press release on its inauguration.

In the meantime, the BanReservas Trust, as of this past Sunday has not published its financial statements. But they history of the Beltway goes back many more years than 2013. In November 2000, businessman Hector José Then, the president of Compresores, Equipo & Ingeneria (Compreica), on his own account, designed the project and offered its execution to then-President Hipolito Mejia.

The project had a long, 12 year, sleep, until 6 May 2013, the MOPC, under the justification of “State Continuity,” awarded the project, on a personal step-by-step basis to the Cpmpreica Consortium for execution.

The connection between North and South

The first stage of the Greater Santo Domingo Beltway extends 26.5 km, which once concluded will be 48.8 km. Gonzalo Castillo explains that the purpose of the project is to “connect the South and North regions of the country, without the need to circulate within the urban center of Santo Domingo.” The first stage permits in peak hours the possibility to go from Haina to Km 24 of the Duarte Highway in 12 minutes, when before this would take an hour and a half.

Source: DiarioLibre

March 2, 2015

Category: DR News |

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