ColombiaOne.comColombia newsJorge Robledo Supports President Gustavo Petro's Proposal for an Underground Metro in...

Jorge Robledo Supports President Gustavo Petro’s Proposal for an Underground Metro in Bogota

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Jorge Robledo metro
Jorge Robledo supports the proposal for the underground metro in Bogota. Credit: Imesiasb/CC BY-SA 4.0

The former congressman and current candidate for the mayorship of Bogota, the veteran Jorge Enrique Robledo, has expressed his support for President Petro’s proposal to build the underground metro. This measure has been controversial and has been strongly criticized by the current mayor, Claudia López.

Robledo, the latest player in the dispute

Candidate Jorge Enrique Robledo is the latest player in the Bogotá metro dispute. The last decade has been marked by disputes over whether the metro should be underground or elevated. In the 2019 elections, only the left-wing candidate Hollman Morris defended the idea of an underground metro. He was defeated in the contest in favor of Claudia López. Over the past year, disagreements between the mayor and the presidency of Petro have been constant. Now, Robledo is joining the aspiration advocated by the presidency.

Robledo and Petro, a history of disagreements

Politicians Jorge Robledo and Gustavo Petro have a long history of disagreements. These were evident during the presidential campaign last year. Robledo, a traditional left-wing politician with twenty years in Congress, openly expressed his differences with Gustavo Petro, who would go on to win the elections and become the head of state.

Today, it seems that the two politicians have finally found common ground: the underground metro. The news has come to light through a letter that Robledo has sent to the president and the mayor. In the letter, the candidate supports the idea of modifying the contract so that the first line of the capital’s metro is underground, not elevated.

Jorge Robledo metro
Letter from candidate Jorge Robledo to President Petro and Mayor López. Credit: Twitter/Jorge Robledo.

Robledo explained that he always considered changing the project to an elevated metro a bad idea. The design had been in force since 2008. However, the politician also clarified that “if I am the mayor of Bogota, the contract for the metro that is in force on January 1, 2024, will be fulfilled.”

The main objection is the negative environmental impact of the elevated metro. The plan involves building the viaduct along Avenida Caracas, above the current Transmilenio route. The candidate points out that the impact would affect nearby buildings and the overall environment.

The never-ending story

The battle has been going on for a long time. After five decades of studies, projects lost in a drawer, economic crises, and a focus on a bus-based transportation system, it was in 2007 when the metro project seemed to take shape. An agreement between the city council and the country’s presidency seemed to materialize what was going to be the first metro line. That first agreement ended up failing after the well-known Carrusel de la Contratación, a complex corruption case involving Mayor Samuel Moreno.

The project gained strength with Gustavo Petro’s arrival at the Casa de Nariño. The current president announced from the mayoralty in 2013 the “definitive agreement” for the construction of the first underground metro line. But Mayor Enrique Peñalosa (2016-2019) cited high costs and construction difficulties as reasons to change to an elevated metro. That project is the one that the current mayor, Claudia López (2020-2023), has continued to support. The campaign for this October’s local elections has brought back a debate that never completely disappeared.

Jorge Robledo metro
Trains of the future Bogota metro – Credit: Metro de Bogota Company

Center of the electoral campaign in Bogota

Now, the underground proposal has at least two supporters among the candidates: Gustavo Bolívar and Jorge Robledo. The former is the candidate of the president’s coalition and supports the idea. Robledo is also in favor. As a response to the economic reasons, President Petro stated that the construction of the underground metro would be funded by the national government.

The electoral campaign guarantees the debate over the much-desired metro of Bogotá, a necessary proposal to improve the capital’s complex mobility.


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