Delays in rollout of transport infra projects add to traffic woes
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.