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MRT 7 extension to Bocaue eyed

/ 04:16 AM December 09, 2019

Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) wants to extend the 23-kilometer Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT 7) farther to Bocaue, Bulacan, its top official said.

The MRT 7, which will open by 2022, will link San Jose del Monte in Bulacan and North Avenue in Quezon City.

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An extension to Bocaue will improve access to the Ciudad de Victoria tourism enterprise zone, a site that includes the Philippine Arena, one of the world’s largest indoor stadiums.

“We are in talks to connect [MRT 7] in San Jose del Monte to Bocaue,” SMC president Ramon Ang told reporters in a recent interview.
He said this could replace a previous plan to connect the two locations via an expressway.

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“This was the old road component. We want to make it a train,” Ang said.

An earlier MRT 7 project brief included plans for a six-lane highway spanning 22 km that will connect an intermodal transportation terminal in San Jose del Monte to the Bocaue/Balagtas Interchange of the North Luzon Expressway.

“The road will pass through the municipalities of San Jose del Monte, Sta. Maria, Pandi, Bocaue and Balagtas,” the document showed.

The MRT 7 is SMC’s first railway project since the food and drinks giant launched a major diversification bid into infrastructure more than a decade ago.

The P63-billion MRT 7, which broke ground in 2016, is expected to serve 300,000 to 850,000 passengers a day. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it was close to 50-percent finished as of October this year.

The project underwent delays mainly due to right of way issues. However, a major obstacle was removed last month after the DOTr took control of a 20-hectare site in Quezon City for the MRT 7 depot, where unused or under maintenance trains will be parked.

The DOTr is hoping the MRT 7 will be partially operational by 2021, a year before President Duterte steps down.

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SMC is doubling down on investments in Bulacan, where it is planning to build a $15-billion hub called the New Manila International Airport.

Ang said the project groundbreaking this month was behind schedule due to a Department of Justice review on the concession agreement. The review was sought by the Department of Finance.

The DOTr said the review involved “clarifications” on the phrasing of provisions on material adverse government action and the limits on liability in relation to operational performance and deliverables. INQ

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