THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is in talks with the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) for the turnover of the operation and maintenance of Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) either this month or in October at the latest.
“[We are] still working out a date with LRMC. Both parties want it early. Major for them is how to assume and take charge first. That is immediate, not the construction,” DOTC Secretary Emilio Joseph Abaya told reporters.
Asked when the turnover is likely going to be made, Abaya said, “Hopefully this month or at the latest, next month.”
“There is mutual interest that they assume earlier this month. We just don’t want to go public unless we both agree to tell the public this is our date to turn over this month. We just can’t tell the public yet without agreeing on a date first,” he said.
“We both want it earlier. We just want to make sure that everything is smooth on the turnover,” Abaya added.
In October last year, LRMC signed with the DOTC and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) a 32-year concession agreement for the operation and maintenance of LRT-1 and the construction of a P65-billion extension project to Cavite.
LRMC is a consortium composed of Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s (MPIC) Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp., Ayala Corp.’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., and the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure’s Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd.
At the signing of the deal last year, MPIC president and CEO Jose Ma. Lim said that the consortium will have 12 months to take over the operations of LRT-1 from the LRTA and 48 months to develop the expanded system.
LRMC was formally awarded the project by the DOTC and LRTA after the consortium submitted the lone bid with a premium bid amount of P9.35 billion.
Under the concession agreement, LRMC will operate and maintain the existing LRT Line 1 and construct an 11.7-kilometer extension from the present end-point at Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite.
A total of eight new stations will be built along this route, which traverses the cities of Parañaque and Las Piñas up to Bacoor, Cavite.
The extended rail line, where LRMC will invest P35 billion, is envisioned to help ease the worsening traffic conditions in the Parañaque-Las Piñas-Cavite corridor. It is also expected to enhance commercial development around the rail stations.