NEDA approves P372.8B transport infra projects


ID-100253976The Philippine government recently approved six additional infrastructure projects worth P372.793 billion, including the North-South Railway master plan.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board chaired by President Benigno Aquino III green lit on March 9 the connector road for the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX); rebidding of the Cavite Laguna Expressway (Calax); the Panguil Bay Bridge (PBB); Phase 1 of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR); North-South Railway Project-South Line; and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).

“Most of these projects aim to have a more reliable and efficient transport infrastructure system. These are consistent with the government’s thrust to increase investment in connective infrastructure,” NEDA Director General Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.

The NEDA Board approved two projects under the North-South Railway master plan. The first is the P117.3- billion Phase 1 of the NSCR. Spearheaded by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), it involves construction of a 36.7-kilometer narrow-gauge elevated commuter railway from Malolos to Tutuban to improve efficiency of land transportation capacity and provide a more environmentally sustainable mode of transport in Metro Manila.

NSCR Phase 1 will use the Philippine National Railways (PNR) right-of-way to put up 10 stations and will have a depot in Valenzuela. The project is targeted for undertaking from 2015, with a 35-year operation period starting 2020.

The second is the North-South Railway Project-South Line, a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme of DOTC that has an estimated total cost of P170.7 billion. The project consists of commuter railway operations between Tutuban and Calamba, Laguna, and includes a long-haul railway operation between Tutuban and Legazpi, Albay and on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas, and an extension between Legazpi and Matnog.

The P5.09-billion PBB project, for implementation by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), involves constructing a bridge across Panguil Bay to connect the City of Tangub in Misamis Occidental and the Municipality of Tubod in Lanao del Norte.

The bridge will reduce travel time along the 100-kilometer national road between Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental and Tubod, Lanao del Norte from 2.5 hours to 37 minutes. Dubbed as one of the high-priority development projects in Mindanao, the project will be fully financed by the government and is targeted for development from 2015 to 2018.

To be headed by the DPWH, the expansion of TPLEX from two lanes (one lane per direction) to four lanes (two lanes per direction) entails an estimated government support of P2 billion. Full project cost for the TPLEX Ultimate Stage is P24.303 billion, encompassing the design, finance, construction, operation, and maintenance of the 88.5-kilometer expressway from the terminus of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) in Tarlac City to Rosario, La Union.

The P20-billion NLEX-SLEX Connector Project of the DPWH will now proceed through unsolicited mode subject to a Swiss challenge. This covers the construction, operation, and maintenance of a 13.4-kilometer four-lane elevated expressway over the PNR right-of-way, which starts in Caloocan City and ends in Buendia, Makati. This will connect the NLEX and SLEX in order to decongest traffic in Metro Manila.

Lastly, the rebidding by the DPWH of the P35.4-billion Calax, for the highest premium for the government, with a floor of P20.105 billion, was approved. With a total of distance of 47.018 kilometers, the project will start from the Cavite Expressway in Kawit and end at the SLEX-Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna. There will be nine interchanges set up in Kawit, Daang Hari, Governor’s Drive, Aguinaldo Highway, Silang, Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay, Laguna Blvd., Technopark, and a toll barrier before SLEX.

Balisacan said the six projects support the government’s goal of increasing infrastructure spending to at least 5.1% in 2016. “We hope that they will be implemented efficiently and effectively,” he added.

Image courtesy of mapichai at