Manila Bulletin

De­lays in roll­out of trans­port in­fra projects add to traf­fic woes

- By KRIS BAYOS

De­lay in the roll out and im­ple­men­ta­tion of var­i­ous trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture projects is con­tribut­ing to the wors­en­ing traf­fic con­di­tion across Metro Manila, ac­cord­ing to the Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion of the Philip­pines (AAP).

The Public-Pri­vate Part­ner­ship (PPP) projects to con­struct cen­tral­ized in­ter­modal ter­mi­nals and to con­nect the North and South Luzon Ex­press­ways (NLEX-SLEX) could have sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic vol­ume in the me­trop­o­lis.

AAP Vice Pres­i­dent Johnny An­ge­les the said their group has pro­posed the con­struc­tion of in­ter­modal trans­port ter­mi­nal in Calamba, La­guna as early as 1986. But as of press time, none of the three pro­posed In­te­grated Trans­port Sys­tem (ITS) ter­mi­nals has been con­structed yet.

“We do not have po­lit­i­cal clout, so we can only pro­pose. It’s a pity past gov­ern­ments did not take cog­nizance of the mer­its of our pro­pos­als un­til re­cently,” he said.

While the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions (DOTC) has al­ready awarded the 2.5-bil­lion ITS South­west Ter­mi­nal to MWM Ter­mi­nals last Jan­uary, the win­ning con­trac­tor MWM Ter­mi­nals is yet to com­mence con­struc­tion of the fa­cil­ity at the 2.9hectare Philip­pine Recla­ma­tion Au­thor­ity (PRA) prop­erty in Parañaque City.

Ac­cord­ing to Louie Fer­rer of the MWM Ter­mi­nals, the DOTC is yet to get an in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tant that will re­view and ap­prove their de­tailed en­gi­neer­ing de­sign be­fore ac­tual civil works can com­mence. MWM Ter­mi­nals, which is a con­sor­tium be­tween Me­gaw­ide Con­struc­tion Corp. and Wal­ter Mart’s Prop­erty Man­age­ment, Inc., se­cured the con­tract af­ter propos­ing the low­est an­nual grantor fee of 100 mil­lion.

Once con­structed, the ITS South­west Ter­mi­nal will con­nect com­muters from Cavite and Batan­gas to ur­ban trans­porta­tion sys­tems such as the Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1, city buses, taxis and other public util­ity ve­hi­cles ply­ing routes in Metro Manila.

Op­er­a­tion of the ITS South­west Ter­mi­nal should com­mence by April 10, 2017. MWM Ter­mi­nals will op­er­ate and main­tain the ter­mi­nal un­til 2050, when it will then be re­quired to turn over the fa­cil­ity to the gov­ern­ment at the end of the 35-year con­ces­sion pe­riod.

Mean­while, the DOTC is yet to award the 4-bil­lion ITS South Ter­mi­nal ei­ther to Ayala Land, Inc. or Fil­in­vest Land, Inc. ALI of­fered the low­est AGP of 277.89 mil­lion against FLI’s 1-bil­lion pro­posal. It is not im­me­di­ately clear why the DOTC has not yet is­sued the no­tice to award since the fi­nan­cial bids were opened last Au­gust 11.

The win­ning bid­der will fi­nance and build the in­ter­modal fa­cil­ity within a 4.7-hectare lot within the Food Ter­mi­nal, Inc. (FTI) Com­plex in Taguig and op­er­ate and main­tain the fa­cil­ity for 35 years. Con­struc­tion of the ITS South Ter­mi­nal is ex­pected to com­mence by the sec­ond quar­ter of 2016 while com­mer­cial oper­a­tions is set to start by De­cem­ber 2017.

As of press time, how­ever, the DOTC is yet to se­cure the nod of the Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fense for its use of a par­cel of land within the Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial Med­i­cal Cen­ter as the pro­ject site for the ITS North Ter­mi­nal, where pro­vin­cial buses op­er­at­ing routes to Cen­tral and North­ern Luzon will soon ter­mi­nate their routes.

Con­struc­tion of ITS Ter­mi­nals are seen as a sig­nif­i­cant move to de­con­gest Epi­fanio de­los San­tos Av­enue (EDSA). Pres­i­dent Benigno Aquino III has or­dered DOTC and other gov­ern­ment agen­cies to put up cen­tral­ized bus ter­mi­nals so that pro­vin­cial buses will soon be dis­al­lowed to en­ter Metro Manila.

On the other hand, con­nec­tion be­tween the North and South Luzon Ex­press­ways are yet to be es­tab­lished. While con­struc­tion of the 26.66-bil­lion Skyway Stage 3 Pro­ject is al­ready un­der­way, the Swiss chal­lenge on the 23.2-bil­lion NLEX-SLEX Con­nec­tor Road pro­ject is yet to com­mence.

The Na­tional Eco­nomic and De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (NEDA) Board is yet to ap­prove the ne­go­ti­ated terms of the Swiss chal­lenge for the NLEX-SLEX Con­nec­tor Road pro­ject be­fore it can com­mence. Ac­cord­ing to pro­po­nent Manila North Toll­ways Corp., con­struc­tion com­ple­tion is still fea­si­ble by 2019 only if the Swiss chal­lenge is com­pleted by early next year.

The Skyway Stage 3 pro­ject cov­ers the con­struc­tion of a 14.8-kilo­me­ter sixlane el­e­vated high­way that will con­nect the NLEX in Bal­intawak, Que­zon City to the Metro Manila Skyway in Buen­dia, Makati City. It will tra­verse the me­dian of C3 Road and Araneta Av­enue and cuts through the busy thor­ough­fares of Cen­tral Manila on Os­meña High­way, Quirino Av­enue, Sta. Mesa, Araneta Av­enue and A. Boni­fa­cio.

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