Light rail firms finally agree to put up common QC station
Business executives from SM Prime Holdings, Ayala Land Inc., San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and the Manuel V. Pangilinan group or Metro Pacific are poised to seal a deal that will pave the way for a common station linking the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in Quezon City.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade told lawmakers on Friday that he discussed the matter with top executives of these corporations on Thursday and agreed to meet them again tentatively on Sept. 28 for the signing of a formal agreement.
Tugade identified the executives as “Mr. Zobel, Mr. Ramon Ang, Mr. Pangilinan, Ma’am Tess Sy-Coson and her sibling.”
Said the transport official of the meeting: “All of them saw the importance of one single station (and having) connectivity between LRT and MRT. All of them saw the difficulty of making people walk. All of them agreed that there’s got to be connectivity.”
The Cabinet official was at the House of Representatives to defend the Department of Transportation’s proposed P55.4-billion budget for 2017.
Tugade said he was aware of the pending injunction case with the Supreme Court involving the dispute between Ayala Land Inc. and SM Holdings Inc., on whether the common station should be located at Ayala’s Trinoma Mall or SM North Edsa. Construction of the common station has been halted since July 2014.
No final word on agreement
But the Cabinet member did not say what agreement had been reached with respect to the court battle.
SM is controlled by the Sy family, while Trinoma is under Ayala Land Inc. of the Zobel de Ayala clan.
The Light Rail Manila Corp., a venture between Ayala and the Pangilinan group, operates LRT 1 that connects Baclaran to Quezon City via Monumento in Caloocan and Edsa. It is envisioned to go all the way to North Avenue on Edsa, which is also the Quezon City terminal of MRT 3. Meanwhile, Ang’s SMC is building the MRT 7 line from Quezon City to Bulacan that will eventually connect to the common station.
Overpass or underpass?
Tugade said the Sept. 28 meeting will address several technical issues, including whether there would be an overpass or underpass for the project. “That’s one, but connectivity is a given point,” he said.
He stressed that the DOTC was talking to “the people who can make the decisions,” and thus hoped that the agreement could be finalized soon.
Metro Pacific and SMC officials confirmed that an agreement in principle was in place. The SM Group, which would need to withdraw its lawsuit against Ayala Land, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
SMC president Ramon Ang, in a text message, said stakeholders are in agreement while Metro Pacific president Jose Ma. Lim confirmed that “progress has been made between the principals.”
“They are now working on the technical details,” Lim said. With a report from Miguel Camus
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