Common rail station to break ground on Sept. 29
The Department of Transportation has scheduled on Sept. 29 this year the groundbreaking for the construction of a common train station that would link as many as three elevated railway systems in Metro Manila, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said Friday.
Groundbreaking events, usually ceremonial in nature, nevertheless signals the start of a process, which in this case had stalled during the Aquino administration.
The common station project, which would rise in a parcel of land between the SM City North Edsa shopping mall and the Ayala’s Trinoma shopping complex in Quezon City, aims to link the Metro Rail Transit Line 3, Light Rail Transit Line 1 and the MRT-7, which will run to Bulacan and will open by 2020.
The DOTr earlier said it was targeting to finish the common station project by April 2019.
The current location was agreed upon after months of compromise talks between the DOTr, led by Tugade, and private sector stakeholders led by the SM group, Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and San Miguel Corp.
The end result was the signing last Jan. 18 of a memorandum of understanding on the station’s new location. This resolved delays that ran for about eight years.
Tugade said the current design would cost the government P2.8 billion. This increased from previous estimates since the station’s size, at 13,700 square meters, was double the original design in 2009. This was to accommodate passenger flow and convenience and overall larger volume.
The common station issue traces its roots to 2009 and revolved around its location—coveted since it would serve as the transfer point for train systems that catered to more than a million passengers daily.
In 2009, SM Prime Holdings Inc. signed an agreement with the then Arroyo administration for the station to be built near the annex mall of SM City North Edsa.
But the implementation of the common station suffered delays as the Aquino administration, which reviewed the project, assumed power in 2010.
When then Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya decided to move the location to an area near Trinoma in 2014, the SM group cited breach of contract and sued the government.
Abaya, at the time, noted the advantages of the Trinoma location, which was smaller, since it would cost about P1 billion less than the location near the SM North Edsa Annex.
Under the agreement all stakeholders signed last January, SM would agree to drop its lawsuit once an approved detailed design was completed at the end of this year.
Ayala and Metro Pacific currently operate the LRT-1 while SMC is building the MRT-7.
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