Deadline for LRT-1 bid moved back a month
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is giving bidders an additional month, or until May 28, to submit their offers for a massive public-private partnership deal that would extend the existing Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT) elevated railway to Cavite province.
Transportation secretary Joseph Abaya told reporters that several bidding groups had sought delays ranging from one month to four months past the original April 28 deadline.
The seven groups vying for the project are San Miguel Corp., Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Malaysia’s MTD Group, DMCI Holdings, Megawide Construction Corp., Globalvia Inversiones of Spain and Ecorail.
The delay was anticipated given the complicated nature of the P65-billion PPP train project, which failed in its first bidding round in August 2013 as the private sector deemed the project too risky in its previous framework.
But the move also comes as the DOTC has yet to define certain terms, including the final location of a P1.4-billion common station that would link the LRT-1 and Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) in Quezon City.
The DOTC was now looking at including the common station as part of the bidding terms, although the government would still shoulder the cost of the station’s construction.
“We are heading in the direction toward the common station being part of the LRT-1 bid,” said Abaya, noting that this was at the request of bidders as it would give them more control over the timing of the project.
Abaya added that they have not yet made a decision on where the station would be located.
The transportation department has made previous statements on its preference to locate the station beside the Ayala Group’s Trinoma shopping mall, citing its cost advantages, instead of SM North Edsa, owned by billionaire Henry Sy Sr.
The SM group had previously made a P200 million payment to secure “naming rights” for the station. A station in Trinoma, however, would make it difficult to the transportation department to eventually accommodate MRT-7 once it starts and is completed, previous reports had showed.
The LRT-1 extension aims to provide an affordable commuting alternative for about 4 million people living in Parañaque, Las Piñas and Cavite, the DOTC had said.
Ridership at LRT-1, which served about 470,000 passengers a day last year, was projected to hit a ridership of about 820,000 once the system is complete in 2019. The winning bidder will operate the entire LRT-1 system for a period of 35 years, including construction, information on the PPP Center website showed.
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