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Committee recommends restarting Bus Rapid Transit project

By Khaled Neimat - Feb 21,2013 - Last updated at Feb 21,2013

AMMAN — A government committee on Thursday recommended that the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) should restart the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project after making minor amendments, a senior official said.

The report the committee submitted to Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour labelled the project as “vital” in resolving the growing traffic in the capital, Sami Halaseh, secretary general of the Public Works Ministry, told The Jordan Times.

He noted that Ensour referred the committee’s recommendations to GAM for feedback, adding that the municipality could proceed with the project after the Cabinet gives the go-ahead.

Despite the major challenges this project has faced over the past years, it is still viable and “should see life”, according to Halaseh. 

He said that GAM does need to make some minor adjustments to the project’s layout and route before it relaunches work on the BRT lanes.

Work on the project stopped in the summer of 2011 amid concerns over its feasibility and funding, before the Cabinet officially suspended it and halted all related tenders.

The multimillion-dinar project, which GAM embarked on in 2009, entails operating premium, high-capacity buses that can carry more than 120 passengers and will run on a three-minute frequency during peak hours on segregated lanes along Amman’s busiest corridors.

Public transportation experts have called the BRT “the best option for a city like Amman” to resolve its growing “public transportation dilemma”.

Former mayor of Amman Omar Maani, who was in office between 2006 and 2011, was a target of fierce criticism over the project. 

Maani and his former deputy Amer Bashir, currently an MP, faced charges of “abuse of public office” during their service in GAM. 

However, the Court of Cassation turned down the appeal by Chief Attorney General Akram Massadeh to rebuff a decision by the Amman prosecutor general under which he “suspended the trial” of Maani and Bashir.

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