Awarding of LRT 1 extension contract stalled
The awarding of a massive railway projected aimed at extending Metro Manila’s Light Rail Transit Line 1 to Bacoor in Cavite province remains on hold, as the Transportation Department seeks further assurances from the Office of the Solicitor General.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya told reporters this week that the awarding to sole bidder Light Rail Manila Consortium could not proceed until the OSG gives the go-ahead, citing a temporary restraining order obtained by the SM Group that would affect a component of the P65-billion public-private partnership project.
The TRO from the Supreme Court barred the Department of Transportation and Communications from transferring the location of a railway common station in Quezon City from the original site near SM City North Edsa to the Trinoma shopping mall of the Ayala Group.
SM Prime Holdings Inc. last June sued the DOTC and Light Rail Transit Authority for moving the common station’s location, saying this violated a 2009 agreement and for which SM Prime had paid a P200-million “grant.”
“We are asking the OSG, as our official counsel, if we can award with the pending condition that the eventual common station [location] was subject to the Supreme Court’s decision,” Abaya said.
While the common station itself was not part of the LRT-1 PPP Cavite extension deal, the Trinoma location was cited in the concession agreement.
This could pose challenges moving forward, especially if the Supreme Court rules that the 2009 agreement between SM Prime and LRTA should be upheld.
Light Rail Manila is a consortium led by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp.
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