TRAFFIC in southern Metro Manila is expected to ease starting on Friday after President Benigno Aquino 3rd inaugurated the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX), the first public-private partnership (PPP) road project under his administration.
Riding a white SUV, Aquino was the first person to drive through the P2-billion expressway, also called Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Road Project—a PPP initiative of the Department of Public Works and Highways, with Ayala Corp. as the private sector partner.
“We are delighted that although this is not a large project, it is a very significant one because it is the first one bided out by government,” Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman and CEO of Ayala Corp. told reporters at the sidelines of the inauguration.
“Statistics will show how even a small project like this can make a significant impact to the people,” he added.
Motorist can use the MCX toll free from July 24 to August 24. The regular toll rates are P17 for Class 1 vehicles, P34 for Class 2 and P51 for Class 3.
The four-kilometer, four-lane toll road connects Bacoor, Cavite to the South Luzon Expressway.
“Once fully completed, the road would . . . improve the overall competitiveness of Region IV-A (CALABARZON) as an investment destination by providing an alternative route to/from Metro Manila and Cavite,” Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.
As an alternative route to the Metro Manila-Cavite route, the MCX is expected to cut travel time by 45 minutes on average and decongest traffic in Cavite, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa.
John Eric Francia, Ayala Corp. managing director, said the road project has helped set the momentum for the company to take in other PPP projects especially experiencing the end-to-end development of MCX. “From a momentum experience we will continue that.”
“We hope that the whole idea of using PPP structure to allow private capital to contribute to infrastructure will continue . . . But that depends on future leadership, I guess. It’s a formula that is working . . . People have seen the benefits of it, so I see no reason for it to stop,” Zobel noted.
The MCX also serves as a new access road to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City, which would soon be redeveloped into a mixed-used development, Coloma.
WITH ROSALIE C. PERIABRAS