LRT East Extension project faces delay
Aquino orders market study to justify costBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The policy-making National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board has deferred the approval of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 East Extension project following President Aquino’s order for a population study to determine whether the area’s growth would justify the investment.
The east extension project intends to lengthen the current Recto to Santolan LRT line to Antipolo to benefit residents east of Metro Manila.
Two new stations will be built, but the government is choosing between two points for the second station: the Sta. Lucia development on Sumulong Highway or the Masinag Junction two kilometers down the road.
“There is a population study to see what population base will be served by the extension because that will determine the length of the extension,” Roxas said. “Do we stop at Sta. Lucia, or do we go all the way to Masinag?”
The extra two kilometers to have the line stretch to Masinag would mean billions of pesos in investments to be shouldered by taxpayers, if the project is to be funded by the government, or by commuters, if the project is eventually listed as a public-private partnership (PPP).
“The President wanted to make sure that there would be a sufficient population base that can be served,” Roxas said, noting that the extension up to Sta. Lucia was a “sure thing.” Going all the way to Masinag would be the only question.
President Aquino raised his concerns over the project when plans were presented before the NEDA board, of which the Chief Executive is chairman. Other members of the NEDA board include representatives from the finance, budget and management, agriculture, public work and highways, energy, and transportation departments.
Once the population study is completed, the NEDA board can then decide whether to allow the technical planning for the project to proceed.
The LRT line 2 is the newest and most modern of Metro Manila’s commuter train lines, but it carries the least number of passengers. The LRT line 1 from Baclaran to Roosevelt and the MRT on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue each carry more than 500,000 passengers a day. Line 2, however, serves a market of less than 300,000 daily passengers.
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