PH railway footprint to quadruple by 2022
The Department of Transportation is seeking to complete more than 320 kilometers of railway projects by 2022— more than four times the current footprint—in Luzon and Mindanao.
John Batan, DOTr assistant secretary for railways, said in recent forum that projects to be completed by the time President Duterte steps down would include the Philippine National Railways’ rail project to the Clark Freeport Zone (106 km), the PNR Manila to Los Baños, Laguna (72 km), the Mindanao railway project’s Tagum-Davao-Digos phase 1 (102-km) and the Light Rail Transit Line 2 extension.
Also included in the list are the LRT-1 extension to Cavite (11.7 km), being built by private concessionaire Light Rail Manila Corp. and the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 to Bulacan that is being built by San Miguel Corp.
The Philippines currently has a railway footprint of 77 km through LRT1, LRT2, MRT3 and the PNR. All projects mainly serve Metro Manila.
This has come down from a once robust network that spanned 900 km in the 1970s, with lines running all the way to La Union province in the north to Legazpi City in the Bicol region in the south. Several of the projects were revived under the Aquino administration’s Public- Private Partnership (PPP) program.
Batan, who noted that projects were ahead of schedule either in terms of implementation and planning, said the DOTr was also hoping to partially complete railway projects as part of a massive 2,555-km pipeline.
Including the aforementioned projects and partially completed lines, the Philippines would have a railway footprint of 1,900 km by 2022.
These included the partial completion of the PNR-Bicol (581km), the Mindanao railway project (1,429 km), Cebu railway line (116 km) and the Metro Manila subway project (30 km).
Batan said the railway project pipeline was valued at around P1 trillion, a big slice of the P8 trillion in infrastructure projects the Duterte administration had identified.
He said a core principle was to increase connectivity to areas outside Metro Manila, helping these “become more viable destinations for investment.”
Some of these projects were cited in the 2014 “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas,” which was prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and the National Economic and Development Authority.
This same study included the “dream plan” of P2.6 trillion worth of infrastructure projects until 2030.
Among the document’s highlights was the often-cited P2.4 billion in daily losses for Metro Manila alone due to road congestion. Left unchecked, that would balloon to P6 billion daily by 2030.
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