Cablegate: Federal Highway Administration Meets with Roads And
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS BOGOTA 007911
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELTN CO
SUBJECT: Federal Highway Administration Meets with Roads and
Highways Experts in Colombia
1. Summary. Officials from the Federal Highway
Administration's (FHWA) Office of International Programs
visited Bogota, Colombia on August 3rd and 4th. They met
with officials from the Colombian Department of
Transportation as well as experts in the field of highway
safety. The trip allowed a dialogue between major players
within the industry. It also laid the groundwork for a
future Memorandum of Cooperation between the USG and GOC.
2. Henry Nevares, director of the FHWA's Office of
International Programs, and Michael Avery, Western
Hemisphere team leader, held several meetings with key
transportation officials during their two-day trip to
Bogota. Juan Ricardo Noero, Viceminister of Transportation
welcomed the delegation, noting that this was the first
meeting of its kind since he had taken office in August of
3. During the meeting, the FHWA discussed creating a
Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to create a framework to
support technology transfer and information sharing e.g.
facilitating technology transfer to address road safety .
Noero expressed interest in beginning discussions toward an
MOC, and both parties agreed to maintain an open line of
communication to strengthen relations in the highway sector
between both nations.
4. In discussions with academia FHWA representative,
Nevares explained that universities and other learning
institutions are critical to the success of the memorandum.
Nevares suggested that hosting occasional conferences would
offer a chance for road and highway experts to meet and
exchange technology, best practices and other transportation
information. Participants would convene, share their
problems, and leave with collective solutions.
5. The FHWA also met with Maximiliano Gonzalez Henriquez
and Guillermo Emigdio Alean Madrid, from the Ministry's
National Institute of Concessions (INCO) to stress the
importance of the MOC to facilitate cooperation between
countries, such as in developing strong safety standards.
Nevares explained that the MOC could facilitate the creation
of a central technology transfer center, allowing the
government and other organizations to provide standardized
training at a centralized location. Henriquez and Madrid
stated that since INCO's current highway data collection
system is antiquated, they were especially interested in
technology transfer opportunities.
6. On August 4, the FHWA hosted a lunch to bring together
the major players in Colombia's land transportation
industry. Attendees included city and nationwide
transportation officials, transportation experts from major
universities, as well as representatives from the trucking
industry and Colombia's truckers' union. Many of the
participants noted that they rarely have the opportunity to
meet as a group. Director Nevares extended an invitation to
the group to continue the bilateral dialogue.
7. The FHWA also met with Mauricio Ramirez, Director of the
National Highways Institute (Invias). Ramirez also
supported the idea of an MOC and shared information about
road safety/security issues. Ramirez told the delegation
that the number of attacks against road infrastructure in
Colombia dropped from 37 incidents in 2004 to just 2, as of
the first week of August 2005. The improvement, according
to Ramirez, is due to Invias' efforts to use some toll road
receipts to finance Special Forces (army and police) to
increase road protection, monitoring and rapid response
8. To further bolster highway security, Ramirez noted that
Invias created special monitoring units consisting of
motorcycles, cars, and trucks equipped with GPS devices to
patrol the country's roads. Additionally, communities have
formed communication networks to improve road safety
efforts. As a result, road traffic has increased 24 percent
per year during the administration of President Uribe.