Joint NEDA, Cabinet committees okay Subic-Clark railway project

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The National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (NEDA ICC-CabCom) has approved the Subic-Clark Railway Project, which will provide rail freight connection between Subic Bay in  Zambales and Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

The joint project of the Department of Transportation and Bases Conversion and Development Authority is one of the administration’s 75 flagship infrastructure projects under the Build, Build, Build program.

The 71.13-kilometer rail connection aims to support current industrial activities and th potential demand for freight services along the Subic-Clark corridor.

Apart from providing the needed infrastructure for the Metro Luzon Urban Beltway and spurring the development of a freight railway system for Luzon, the railway project is seen to help decongest traffic in Metro Manila.

The project was approved on January 26 during a meeting co-chaired by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia.

The ICC-Cabcom’s approval of the Subic-Clark Railway Project will be elevated to the NEDA Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, for confirmation.

The Department of Finance (DOF) earlier said the railway project will be financed by the Chinese government through a loan of US$947.64 million, part of the second basket of key infrastructure projects under a cooperation agreement between the DOF and China’s Ministry of Commerce. The agreement was signed in November last year on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit.

Aside from approving the Subic-Clark Railway Project, the ICC-Cabcom likewise noted the increase in the cost of the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP)-Phase 1 by P1.375 billion, or from P355.58 billion to P356.96 billion. The increase in the project cost of the MMSP was based on the appraisal made by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, which will finance the project through an official development assistance loan package.

The MMSP-Phase 1 is a 25.3-kilometer subway which will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to FTI in Taguig City and stop at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

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