Construction of MRT-7 seen to start in 2014

P62.7B PPP project to seek Japan funding

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04:13 AM November 29th, 2013

By: Miguel R. Camus, November 29th, 2013 04:13 AM

Construction of the long-delayed P62.7-billion Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7), which involves the putting up of a 22.8-kilometer railway line from Quezon City to Bulacan province, may start late next year, its builder said.

DMCI Holdings Inc. president Isidro Consunji said in an interview on Thursday that it could take about a year for the project’s major stakeholders, San Miguel Corp. and businessman Salvador Zamora III, to secure an official development assistance (ODA) loan from the Japanese government.

Once secured, it would take DMCI unit DM Consunji Inc., which will handle civil works, and a local unit of Japan’s Marubeni about three years to complete MRT-7, one of the biggest public-private partnership (PPP) deals on record. He estimated the debt component at about 80 percent of the total project cost.

Consunji said it was important for the proponents to first secure a so-called performance undertaking, a type of guarantee, that would be issued by the Department of Finance.

“That’s a security required by the Japanese government,” Consunji said. President Aquino last week gave his nod to the performance undertaking in favor of the proponent, the National Economic and Development Authority announced last week.

“The performance undertaking will be issued by the Neda Board as soon as the certification goes to (the Department of Finance),” PPP Center executive director Cosette Canilao said in a separate interview. She said this could happen in the coming weeks.

“Once the DOF issues this, the ball is now with the proponent,” Canilao added.

It was earlier reported that the MRT-7’s rail component will initially operate 108 rail cars in a three-car train configuration. Initial capacity is projected at 448,000 passengers a day, but will eventually be expanded to accommodate as many as 850,000 passengers daily.

It was not immediately clear if those assumptions still hold true today. The project was originally set to be completed in 2014, a previous report showed.

According to Neda, the project will start from North Avenue station in Edsa, Quezon City, passing through Commonwealth Avenue, Regalado avenue and Quirino Highway up to the proposed intermodal transportation terminal in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. It will cover 14 stations.

DMCI and Marubeni, through a joint venture, bagged the contract to build MRT-7 in 2010.

The MRT-7 project is the second-biggest PPP on record after the P64.9-billion Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite extension.

The Department of Transportation and Communications, in a statement Thursday, said they expected to publish the invitation to bid for the LRT-1 extension next week. The bid submission target has been estimated by the second quarter of 2014.

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