Monday, 23 February 2009

Philippine Govt to shoulder MRT 7 common station costs

By Darwin G. Amojelar, Reporter
The Manila Times

IN A bid to meet President Gloria Arroyo’s directive to build a “Grand Central Terminal” for the three mass rail transits (MRT) next year, the government would have to shoulder all the expenses for the project since the MRT 7 investors have yet to get financial closure, an official of the Transport department said.

In a letter to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Guiling A. Mamondiong, undersecretary for rail transportation, said the government would build an elevated grand terminal that would be walking distance to commuters of all lines situated near the intersection of EDSA-North Avenue and West Avenue.

The plan is to construct a Metro Manila Integrated Rail Terminal (MMIRT) for the existing MRT 3, the ongoing LRT 1 North Extension and the proposed MRT 7.

Mamondiong said the proposed conceptual design and location is a product of lengthy discussions among the stakeholders, which include the Transport agency, the Light Rail Transit Authority, the Metro Rail Transit Authority, Universal LRT Corp. (ULC), the MRT 7 proponent and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. The design is compliant with the requirements of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Transport official said it would cost the government an estimated P317.7 million. Since the MRT 7 would still have to complete financial closure by December, the P460-million deductive cost to MRT 7 may be advanced by the government.

“Therefore, to implement MMIRT now, the total budgetary requirements is P777,698,717,” Mamondiong said.

According to the official, the additional cost to the government in building the MMIRT would now be lower compared with the scheme that involves dismantling two stations and then building the MMIRT later.

“The MMIRT would surely help to reduce travel time and generate more passengers for Line1, MRT 3 and MRT 7,” he said.

Mamondiong said the target completion of the project is May 2010 and full revenue operation on or about August 15, 2010.

The LRT 1 North Extension is also expected to be completed in May next year, which will cost around P6.32 billion.

The project involves the extension of LRT 1 to the North Avenue station of MRT 3, the construction of two new intermediate stations— Balintawak and Roosevelt—and a terminal station, the LRT 1 North Avenue station.

Once running, the LRT 1 North Extension is expected to serve about 800,000 to 1 million passengers.

The 20-kilometer MRT 7, meanwhile, would cost around $1.235 billion and will run from San Jose del Monte station in Bulacan to SM City station in North Avenue and would be linked to LRT Line 1 and MRT 3.

This line will begin its route from Tala, Caloocan City, passing through La Mesa dam reservoir, Fairview, Batasan, Diliman, Philcoa and end at EDSA-North Avenue.

It will serve an estimated two million commuters in the northern parts of Quezon City and Caloocan City.

Apart from the elevated transport system, ULC will also build a 17-kilometer, six-lane asphalt access road in Marilao, Bulacan that will lead to its depot in Tala.

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