DOTr chief says no to further review of Metro Manila subway project
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the P350-billion Metro Manila subway project would proceed as planned despite cost issues raised by Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the powerful Committee on Public Services.
Tugade said in an interview the subway project, which would be the country’s first underground train, was already approved by the board of the National Economic and Development Authority.
“We cannot touch the alignment because it has been approved,” Tugade said.
Poe earlier hinted at a potential review, citing the addition of subway stations not included in the “original proposal.”
“We need to find out if this is cost-effective,” she had said.
It was not immediately clear what impact a Senate review would have on the implementation of the subway project, which will run from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City.
It is only the Supreme Court that can halt an infrastructure project of the national government.
The Neda board approved the Metro Manila Subway Project, which will be financed mainly with a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, on Sept 12, 2017.
“The important thing is we start the project,” Tugade said. He earlier said drilling would begin by early next year for completion by 2025.
The Metro Manila subway will span 35 kilometers with stations in Mindanao Avenue, Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, East Avenue, Anonas, Kaptipunan, Ortigas North, Ortigas South, Kalayaan Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Cayetano Boulevard, the Food Terminal Inc. complex and Naia.
Key areas along its alignment include the Ortigas business district in Pasig and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
Once operational, travel time from Quezon City to Naia will be reduced to about 40 minutes from almost two hours—slashing the heavy economic cost from congestion and increasing productivity.
The DOTr also expects the subway to serve an initial 370,000 riders a day.
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