Wednesday, November 21, 2018
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Gov’t expected to award P65-B LRT project to Ayala-MPIC group next week

The government may formally award the P65-billion Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) extension project next week, or after the railway regulator holds a key meeting on July 16, an official Wednesday said.

The approval of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) board is required before an award can be issued to the sole bidder for the massive public-private partnership (PPP) deal, LRTA board secretary Hernando Cabrera said in an interview.

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The LRTA board is chaired by Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya while its members include Cabinet secretaries from the Finance, Economic and Road Infrastructure departments.

The officials are set to hold their meeting next Wednesday, Cabrera said.

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“The board would have to conduct the necessary due diligence,” he explained.

Transportation department spokesman Michael Sagcal said in a separate interview that an award was possible next week.

Only the tandem of Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. made a bid for the LRT-1 project, which involves the extension of the railway line to Bacoor, Cavite. Six other interested groups did not participate in the auction, now on its second round, citing unattractive financial prospects.

The government, in this case, took several more steps in evaluating the offer of Ayala-Metro Pacific’s Light Rail Manila consortium, given that the group was the sole bidder. Light Rail Manila offered P9.35 billion for the right to expand and operate LRT-1 for a period of 32 years.

These steps included securing the approval of the National Economic Development Authority, chaired by President Aquino.

Because the operations of the railway line were included, it would provide fresh revenue streams for both Ayala and Metro Pacific.

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