DOTR eyes PPP scheme for LRT-2 west extension
MANILA -The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is looking at completing the west extension of the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT 2) under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme amid a proposed plan to privatize the entire railway in the future.
Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez, on the sidelines of a recent briefing, told reporters they were still studying this move, which was seen to free up some government funds. About P10.12 billion was to be set aside for the project.
The government has been going the PPP route due to limited fiscal space, which was among the pandemic’s impact on the economy. The DOTR recently inked transaction advisory service agreements with the Asian Development Bank to help it find private sector partners in some major infrastructure projects.
The proposed PPP plan was in line with the recent announcement by Chavez, who earlier revealed they were studying the privatization of the operations and maintenance (O&M) of LRT-2 and bundling it with the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), whose private concession is set to end in 2025.
He said combining the two railways in one O&M deal would make it more attractive to private operators.
Hernando Cabrera, administrator at the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), said they were hoping to receive the multiyear financing commitment for the west extension project from the government the “soonest.” He said this was necessary so they could proceed with the project bidding.
The West extension project will add three more stations for LRT-2 from Recto: Tutuban, Divisoria and Pier 4.