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Metro Pacific, Ayala union to bid for LRT 1

Alliance interested in 10 light rail projects

The newly created alliance between the Metro Pacific and Ayala groups is looking to take part in 10 potential railway projects in Metro Manila, starting with the Light Railway Transit 1 extension project, which is included in the government’s public-private partnership pipeline for this year.

The LRT 1 extension project was earlier estimated by government economic managers to cost around P60 billion.

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On Thursday, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. disclosed the formation of a joint-venture corporation with Ayala Corp. that will pursue the LRT 1 expansion project.

The LRT 1 project will extend the existing 15-kilometer LRT Line 1 system southward by an additional 11.7 kilometers, of which approximately 10.5 km will be elevated and 1.2 km will be at grade.

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The extension will start from the existing line’s last station at Baclaran in Parañaque City and will traverse Parañaque and Las Piñas City in Metro Manila and reach Bacoor in Cavite.

“It’s a new alliance. It ought to be tested first in light rails,” said MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan in a recent briefing.

“There are 10 potential projects—the three existing LRT systems, the LRT 1 expansion, MRT 3 (expansion) and other LRTs which may arise,” Pangilinan said.

Ayala Corp. managing director and head of corporate strategy Eric Francia said the 10 railway projects cited by Pangilinan referred to “a master plan made by the Department of Transportation and Communications for rail lines in Metro Manila.”

After testing this alliance, Pangilinan said in a press briefing that his group would be open to looking at more infrastructure projects with the Ayala group.

But the partnership also leaves room for competition between the two groups—which are already stiff rivals in the telecommunications business—as other big-ticket projects toll roads are not part of the framework. Even on mass transportation segments, the framework does not cover longer railways outside Metro Manila at the moment but the Metro Pacific group is “open” to expanding the partnership to this area.

Asked about the update on the Metro Railway Transit 3 project, MPIC president Jose Ma. Lim said the group had long been asking the corporate secretary to call a shareholders meeting to discuss the Metro Pacific group’s rehabilitation proposal.

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In late 2010, MPIC entered into a deal to take over the key interest of the Sobreprenas’ Fil-Estate Corp. in MRT3, which runs across EDSA highway.

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TAGS: ayala corp., joint venture, Metro Pacific Investments, Railway
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