NEDA okays cost hike to 1777.5 bil­lion

North-South rail­way project

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By CHINO S. LEYCO

The Na­tional Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (NEDA) In­vest­ment Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tee (ICC) ap­proved the change in scope and in­crease in cost of the North-South Com­muter Rail­way (NSCR) Sys­tem.

The to­tal cost of the NSCR has been in­creased to 1777.5 bil­lion from 1441 bil­lion, which will be funded through an Of­fi­cial De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance loan sup­port from the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency (JICA) and the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB).

NSCR is a project of the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr) and Philip­pine Na­tional Rail­ways (PNR).

The in­crease in project cost is at­trib­uted to three fac­tors as de­ter­mined by the de­tailed engi­neer­ing de­signs.

Th­ese in­clude the shift to el­e­vated viaducts in­stead of at-grade struc­tures; adop­tion of stan­dard gauge in­stead of nar­row-gauge, and, in­crease in the num­ber of trains and change from sin­gle to dou­ble-tracks.

The cost will also cover re­set­tle­ment ac­tiv­i­ties, meet­ing ADB and JICA so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal safe­guards, to en­sure proper hous­ing and wel­fare sup­port for the es­ti­mated 12,901 in­for­mal set­tler fam­i­lies that will be af­fected.

The project will bring to­gether the NSCR Phase 1 (Malo­los-Tu­tuban), the PNR South Com­muter Rail­way (SolisCalamba), and the Malo­los-Clark Rail­way Project (MCRP), that will cre­ate a 147-km el­e­vated, dou­ble-track, and seam­less con­nec­tion from Clark In­ter­na­tional Air­port to Calamba, La­guna, with 36 sta­tions.

The NSCR Sys­tem will link with ex­ist­ing rail­way lines the LRT-1, LRT-2 and MRT-3, as well as with the up­com­ing Metro Manila Sub­way.

Ac­cord­ing to the DOTr, the NSCR Sys­tem com­pared to other rail­way projects in Asia is more cost-ef­fec­tive. Per kilo­me­ter, the project costs about $100 mil­lion.

The rail sys­tem is ex­pected to be par­tially oper­a­tional by 2022 with a daily rid­er­ship of 340,000 pas­sen­gers. It will be fully oper­a­tional by 2023 with a daily rid­er­ship of 550,000 pas­sen­gers.

The gov­ern­ment will sub­si­dize an av­er­age of 15 bil­lion per year to cover cap­i­tal, op­er­at­ing, and re­newal costs of the project — an in­vest­ment that is ex­pected to gen­er­ate sub­stan­tial eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, cre­ate more jobs, in­crease in­comes, and de­liver a more com­fort­able com­mut­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The DOTr was in­structed by the Com­mit­tee to im­ple­ment mea­sures that would al­low the na­tional gov­ern­ment to max­i­mize non-fare­box rev­enues, such as in­cre­men­tal taxes from in­creased prop­erty value through rev­enue-shar­ing ar­range­ments with con­cerned LGUs and through the de­vel­op­ment of na­tional gov­ern­ment prop­er­ties in the project area.

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