PH, Jica crafting new MM transport plan
Japan is helping the Philippines craft an updated transportation blueprint covering not only Metro Manila but also other parts of Luzon as part of the Duterte administration’s push to fast-track infrastructure development.
Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan of state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority confirmed to the Inquirer Friday that the earlier Transport Infrastructure Roadmap Study for Mega Manila undertaken by the government with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) was being revised “to reflect developments especially under the new administration such as Clark airport, [Mega Manila] subway, north and south [railway] lines.”
Tungpalan said the transport roadmap would be expanded to cover not only the National Capital Region but also parts of central and southern Luzon.
“Updating is set to be completed by the third quarter,” Tungpalan disclosed.
Also, the updated roadmap “will be taken up in this week’s meeting of the joint Philippines and Japan committee on infrastructure,” Tungpalan added.
Separately, Jica senior representative in the Philippines Tetsuya Yamada said the aid agency, Neda and other related Philippine government agencies started work on the updated transport roadmap in April and they plan to finalize it by November.
The current roadmap that was approved by the Neda Board in 2014 noted of the following challenges in Mega Manila: rapid population growth, traffic congestion, weak transport infrastructure, many informal settlers in disaster-prone areas, and relatively low competitiveness ranking compared with the country’s Asean neighbors, which impact on the investment climate.
As such, the Jica study team had proposed the rollout of a number of railway, road, expressway, road-based public transport, traffic management as well as airport projects worth a total of P2.61 trillion.
If the roadmap was to be implemented, the economic benefit for Metro Manila would reach P4 billion a day or P1.2 trillion yearly in terms of reduction in transportation costs, including travel time cost and vehicle operating cost, Jica said in a briefing paper.
It would also slash commuters’ public transport fare to an average of P24 per day from P42 daily at present.
In terms of travel time, implementing the Jica-proposed projects will reduce the average travel time within Mega Manila to 31 minutes from 80 minutes per trip previously.
Some of the ongoing big-ticket projects that formed part of the transport roadmap include the North-South Commuter Railway Project that will run from Tutuban in Manila to Malolos, Bulacan, and phase six of the Metro Manila Interchange Construction Project, while currently in the government pipeline of infrastructure projects was the Mega Manila Subway Project.
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