San Carlos protesters win accord on highway

Residents of San Carlos thought they had their highway when the government of Taiwan agreed to put up the money and select a contractor.

The highway was begun but then the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration turned its back on Taiwan in favor of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese agreed to build a soccer stadium in La Sabana but not a highway.

So San Carlos residents, many being members of the Comité Pro-Carretera, staged a rolling protest Tuesday from their town to Casa Presidencial in Zapote. They have been seeking such a highway for 40 years.

The bottom line was that government officials agreed to come up with $140 million for the project, which includes nine bridges. President Laura Chinchilla was out of the country, but the demonstrators met with Vice President Luis Liberman, Fernando Herrero, the minister of Hacienda, and Carlos Acosta, the director of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad. Acosta’s organization is in charge of the highways.

Casa Presidencial said that the $140 million would be requested in a proposed amendment to the nation’s so-called extraordinary budget that is being considered in the legislature. There was no mention of where the money would originate.

San Carlos residents argued that much of the nation’s agriculture comes from that area and that the region is important to tourism. The highway will be 30 kilometers some 19 miles, from Sifón de San Ramón and La Abundancia de San Carlos. The road is proposed as a four-lane highway.

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