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         Urban streets and transport project

The Chile Urban Streets and Transport project, supported by Loan 3028-CH for US$75 million equivalent, was approved in FY89. The loan was closed in FY96 one year late; US$1 million was canceled. The Implementation Completion Report (ICR) was prepared by the Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office. A summary of the borrower's report is included as an appendix.

The objectives of the project were: (i) to strengthen the planning, management, and maintenance of urban transport systems in Chile; (ii) to preserve and maintain urban street infrastructure; (iii) to reduce congestion and air pollution; and (iv) to integrate different urban transport modes and demonstrate the efficiency of alternative modes, including bikeways. To achieve these objectives, the project comprised: (a) rehabilitation and maintenance of urban streets; (b) construction and evaluation of pilot bus/tramways and bikeways; (c) traffic management measures; and (d) technical assistance, including studies and training. The project was executed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning (MINVU) and the Executive Secretariat of the Commission for Transport Planning (SECTRA).

The project achieved, and in some cases exceeded, most physical objectives. The Government's increased emphasis on investment for infrastructure and social sectors and a favorable macroeconomic climate during project implementation more than doubled the funding available to MINVU for street maintenance and rehabilitation. In addition, the successful implementation of traffic management measures and introduction of low-cost and participatory paving programs by MINVU resulted in substantially higher capacity utilization of urban streets than estimated at appraisal. Other minor project components, such as the construction of pilot bus/tramways and bikeways, however, were not fully carried out as originally envisaged due to changes in Government plans. On the institutional side, the outcome was mixed. SECTRA successfully carried out all studies and the related technical assistance and training programs financed under the project made a substantial contribution to urban transport planning and traffic management in Chile. On the other hand, the result of the institutional strengthening of MINVU was less than satisfactory. The main reasons were: (i) MINVU, the central ministry, was unable to manage and coordinate the functions and responsibilities of its regional offices, and (ii) the inadequate participation of local governments in the management and maintenance of urban streets and transport. The economic rate of return, estimated at 26 percent at appraisal, was not reevaluated due to insufficient data on traffic flows.

OED rates project outcome as satisfactory, sustainability as uncertain (although likely for the SECTRA component), institutional development impact as modest, and Bank performance as satisfactory. These ratings are consistent with those in the ICR.

The key lesson from this project is that devolving responsibilities for managing and maintaining local streets and transport to municipalities enhances government ownership at the local level, and increases the likelihood that project benefits will be sustained.

The ICR is satisfactory and covers most areas thoroughly. However, it would have been improved by a more detailed discussion of the problems related to institutional structures and organization and a more thorough discussion of plans for future operations, and their monitoring and evaluation.

No audit is planned.

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