Swiss challenge for MPIC’s expressway proposal seen in early ‘18

The 49-kilometer Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway proposed by infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) is moving forward, with a possible competitive challenge seen by early 2018.

Catalina Cabral, public works and highways undersecretary for planning, said in a briefing yesterday that the department would be ready to award the coveted original proponent status to Metro Pacific for the P22.4-billion tollroad.

“If we don’t see any conflict, and it complies with the law, we will be able to give the results of our evaluation in Nov. [2017],” Cabral said when asked when the original proponent status could be given.

The next step, she said, would be the approval of the National Economic and Development Authority.

An original proponent status gives a firm a big advantage should the project be auctioned off under a Swiss challenge, a type of bidding process that allows rivals to submit competing offers.

In case another group submits a better offer, the original proponent has the right to match those terms and win the project.

Briefing materials from the DPWH showed that a Swiss challenge could be held in the first half of 2018. The project is targeted to start construction in mid-2019.

The first section, which will run from Silang to Tagaytay, a popular vacation destination for Metro Manila residents, will be completed by the first half of 2021.

The project will be part of Metro Pacific’s existing tollroad network south of Metro Manila, which includes Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) and its Cavite-Laguna Expressway (Calax) project.

Cavitex Infrastructure president Luigi Bautista said the tollroad would cut the two-and-a-half hour trip between Manila and Tagaytay to less than an hour. The tollroad will serve about 60,000 vehicles per day.

The Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas tollroad, dubbed CTBEx, will start at the Silang East Interchange of the Calax project.

The alignment will traverse the towns of Silang, Amadeo, Mendez, and Alfonso in Cavite, Tagaytay City and Nasugbu in Batangas. It will have eight major interchanges, two spur roads and a number of overpasses.

The first section will span 17.3 km and will run from Silang to Tagaytay. Section 2 will link Tagaytay to Alfonso while the final section will run from Alfonso to Nasugbu.