With funds secured, MRT-7 to run by ’19
A consortium led by conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said it had secured financing for the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7), paving the way for the completion of the elevated train project by 2019, the company announced on Monday.
SMC, through Universal LRT Corp. BVI Ltd., the MRT-7 concessionaire, said it had “fully complied” with the financial closure requirements for the project, whose cost was pegged at around P73 billion. MRT-7 is a mainly elevated train that runs 22.8 kilometers, linking Quezon City in Metro Manila and San Jose, Bulacan.
SMC also announced Monday that the contractor for the project would be comprised of Hyundai Rotem-EEI consortium, which has been approved by the DOTC.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya confirmed in a text message Tuesday that San Miguel already complied with the financial close requirements.
“We have already submitted the required documents to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) last week, certifying commitment from us and our banks to provide financing facilities for the project,” ULC chair and SMC president Ramon S. Ang said late Monday.
With the achievement of the financial closure and “contract effectiveness,” the MRT-7 concessionaire has requested DOTC to determine the date for the project’s groundbreaking, SMC said.
The company added that it expects construction to start by Feb. 18, 2016. Completion is seen by Aug. 17, 2019, it said.
Ang earlier said the group remained committed to completing the MRT-7, which would be the conglomerate’s first railway project. SMC is separately eyeing public private partnership contracts for the Light Rail Transit Line 2 and the P171-billion south line of the North South Commuter Railway.
The new MRT line would complement three other elevated trains: the MRT-3 and Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2, which serve the capital district of about 12 million people.
The three existing lines handle over a million commuters per day, leaving the rest to use private vehicles or other forms of public transportation.
Based on earlier plans, the MRT-7 is estimated to operate as many as 108 rail cars in a three-car train configuration.
Capacity was projected at 448,000 passengers a day, but will eventually be expanded to accommodate as many as 850,000 passengers daily.
The MRT-7 project, which was awarded to the SMC-led group before the Aquino administration, has been hit with various delays, mainly on the government’s side.
Some of these issues include the release of its performance undertaking, a type of financial guarantee, as well as a legal dispute over the location of a railway common station in Quezon City, since MRT-7 is intended to connect with the busy MRT-3.
The Department of Finance issued the terms for the financial guarantee of the MRT-7 in 2014.