Monday, 13 October 2008

Foreign chambers push Philippine light rail project

Jessica Anne D. Hermosa
BusinessWorld Online

THE GOVERNMENT should fast-track implementation of the light rail transit project that will connect southern Metro Manila to Cavite and should use competitive bidding to source contractors, foreign chambers said.

The Joint Foreign Chambers said in a letter last Oct. 3 to Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro R. Mendoza that export manufacturers in Cavite have been waiting for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 1 South Extension Project for a decade.

"[We] urge the government to accelerate implementation of the [project] and to use international competitive bidding. [It] is an essential mass transit project needed if economic growth and job creation is to continue in Cavite, one of the fastest growing provinces in the country," read the letter, posted on the Web sites of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc. and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc.

The project will add 11.7 more kilometers to the existing LRT Line 1 system and will traverse the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas in Metro Manila and reach the municipality of Bacoor, Cavite.

The project was estimated to cost $683 million, of which $260 million will be borrowed from the World Bank, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) said on its site.

The project was to be undertaken by a joint venture between LRTA and SNC Lavalin International Inc. (SLII) in 2003, until it was decided that the project should go through public bidding instead.

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