Zamora to tap China firms for $1.5-B LRT 4 proposal
Businessman Salvador B. Zamora II is in talks with Chinese groups for a plan to build and operate the $1.5-billion Light Rail Transit Line 4 (LRT 4) in Metro Manila.
In a recent interview, Zamora said he was open to multiple partners, and that there were ongoing discussions with a Chinese company for the engineering procurement for and construction of the proposed 20-kilometer project.
With the railway line, Zamora hopes to link densely populated areas in Taytay, Rizal, and the Ortigas Business District.
He said the group was prepared to submit an unsolicited offer to the Department of Transportation in early 2018. Also being evaluated was a path toward getting a Congressional franchise.
“It has [to be submitted] pretty soon,” Zamora said.
The LRT 4 marks Zamora’s latest foray into the railway sector after he sold all of his interests in the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 to San Miguel Corp. last year.
Under an unsolicited proposal, a proponent would need to undergo a Swiss challenge. This gives rival bidders the opportunity to submit better offers. The original proponent, under the rules, holds the right to match those offers and win the project.
The LRT 4 project used to be part of the Public Private Partnership program under the Aquino administration.
It was approved by the board of the National Economic and Development Authority in 2015. That approval was good for only six months and it lapsed in early 2016.
Based on a project brief dated November 2015, the LRT 4 hoped to address limited transportation options for residents in Taytay and nearby areas.
“Ortigas Avenue is highly congested; with over 4,000 public transport passengers every hour and travel speeds during peak hour of around 12 kilometers/hour—much lower than the average for Metro Manila,” according to the brief prepared by the then Department of Transportation and Communications.
The department said most districts had more than 100,000, with some areas topping 200,000. The Taytay area was also growing at least 3 percent yearly.