P171-B railway PPP woos 5 big groups
Local and foreign groups are showing early interest in a massive railway public-private partnership (PPP) deal that would link Metro Manila and Legazpi City, Albay.
PPP center executive director Cosette Canilao said five groups have so far acquired bid documents for the P171-billion South Line of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), which government planners said would be awarded under the next administration.
She said the groups were San Miguel Corp., Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., India’s Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services and US-based engineering and construction giant Fluor Corp.
Companies that acquire bid documents signal their intent to qualify for the project, which will involve a total of 653 kilometers of railway lines. It is expected to be in operation by 2020, based on the original schedule outlined by the Department of Transportation and Communications.
The Filipino conglomerates mentioned have been active players in the local PPP scene. Each one is keen on railway assets, seen as a key solution to helping ease traffic congestion.
San Miguel is leading a consortium building the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 that will link Metro Manila to Bulacan. Ayala and Metro Pacific have previously teamed up to win the Light Rail Transit Line 1 operations and Cavite expansion PPP.
The NSCR, which has a separate northern component, was earlier tagged as an urgent project according to a joint 2014 report conducted by the National Economic and Development Authority and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Upon full operations, the DOTC said there would be 10 daily trips with seven train sets passing through 66 stations. It is expected to yield a demand of 316,000 passengers a day on its opening year and is projected to entice around 44,000 public and private vehicle users to shift their commutes to the modernized railway.
The NSCR is in line with the revival of Luzon’s once robust railway system. At its peak in the1970s, it spanned 900 kilometers linking La Union province in the north to Legazpi City in the Bicol region in the south.
Under the PPP terms of the south line, the private sector partner is expected to design, construct, install, commission, finance, operate and maintain the existing 56-km commuter rail line from Tutuban in Manila to Calamba City, Laguna.
It is also expected to do the same for the 478-km long-haul rail operations from Tutuban to Legazpi City with the possible spur lines extension of 58 km from Calamba City to Batangas City and 117 km from Legazpi City to Matnog, Sorsogon.
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