DOTC-proposed P 100-B hike in NSRP cost nixed
THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has proposed to increase the cost of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP) by nearly P100 billion to change the design of the rail tracks.
However, the interagency Investment Coordination Committee- Cabinet Committee ( ICC- Cabcom) has rejected it, saying the change in track design
to standard gauge from narrow gauge is “not necessary.”
A member of the ICC- Cabcom told the BusinessMirror that, while the shift to standard gauge tracks will be “imminent” in the next decade, it will be expensive at this time.
The P170.69-billion NSRP approved by the National Economic and Development Authority ( Neda) Board in February 2015 proposed the use of narrow gauge rail tracks.
Following the Neda Board approval, the government purchased materials such as slippers and even refurbished narrow gauge trains donated to the Philippines.
The ICC- Cabcom said shifting to standard gauge tracks at this time will only be “a waste of time and government resources.”
Documents obtained by the BusinessMirror showed that the DOTC proposed to increase the cost of the NSRP by P96.802 billion to P267.501 billion.
Aside from changing the rail-track design, the DOTC said the additional amount will also be used for increasing the required right- of-way from 15 meters to 30 meters and resettlement.
Under the NSRP approved by the Neda Board last year, a total of 38,468 households will be affected by the long- haul stretch of the project. The revised proposal of the DOTC will increase the number of affected households to 100,000.
The largest number of households affected at 65,585 is found along the Manila-Legazpi alignment.
The housing costs per affected family will also go up to P480,000, based on post- Supertyphoon Yolanda estimates of the National Housing Authority (NHA), from only P290,000 in the original proposal.
The DOTC also wanted to “unbundle” the NSRP South Line into two separate railways— the commuter line and the south line for longhaul travel. Both will be packaged as publicprivate partnership (PPP) projects.
The commuter line will be 73 kilometers long and will run from Tutuban, Manila, to Los Baños, Laguna.
Meanwhile, the south line of the NSRP will be 415-km long and will also begin in Tutuban, Manila, but will stretch all the way to Legazpi, Albay.
The BusinessMirror earlier reported that infrastructure spending under the proposed Three-year Rolling Infrastructure Plan ( Trip) could reach as much as P1.07 trillion by 2019.
The details of the Trip were recently discussed and recommended for approval by the inter- agency Infrastructure Committee Technical Board.
FILIPINOS, hoping for an end to their daily commuting woes, would have to suffer even more, as the Department of Transportation and Communications plans to increase the cost of the proposed North-South Railway Project by nearly P100 billion.