Gov’t eyes funds from Japan, China for commuter rail project
The governments of Japan and China are vying to finance the construction of the commuter line of the railway that will connect Metro Manila and the Bicol Region.
Socioeconomic Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told the Inquirer that he had met with officials of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) during his trip to Japan early last week.
“Jica wants to fund the south commuter line of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP),” Pernia said.
Approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Board in November, the P170.7-billion NSRP south line has two components, one of which is the 54-kilometer commuter line that will run between Tutuban, Manila and Calamba, Laguna, using a build-gradual transfer operate-and-maintain arrangement.
Pernia said the Chinese government had also expressed interest to fund the same commuter line.
The operation and maintenance of the commuter line will be bid out under the public-private partnership framework, Pernia said.
The second component of the NSRP south line involves a 580-kilometer long-haul line to be operated from Tutuban to Sorsogon, using a build-transfer-contractual arrangement. It will include a branch line between Calamba and Batangas City, and an extension between Legazpi City and Matnog, Sorsogon.
Jica is funding the 38-kilometer north line dubbed North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) that will connect Tutuban to Malolos, Bulacan,
With the design expected to be completed by June, the bidding for the construction of the NSCR was scheduled in 2018, as actual construction was eyed within the first half of 2019.
According to a Jica briefing paper, the government targets to commence operations of the NSCR by 2021 or 2022.
The NSCR will be constructed using a record-high almost $2.42-billion official development assistance from Japan.
The total cost of the project is about $2.88 billion.
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