The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will use the Dream Plan proposed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency as template for infrastructure projects to be implemented in Metro Manila in the remaining 18 months of the Aquino administration
The “dream plan”, will be a gamechanger and will initially cost P520 billion just to ease traffic congestion between now and 2016, according to DOTC Secretary Emilio Joseph Abaya.
The JICA plan will start with filling the missing links in major thoroughfares, the expansion of expressways serving as entrances to Metro Manila, and the development of rail and road-based mass transport systems.
The key, game-changing projects will solve the headaches, woes and congestions of today, Abaya said.
JICA project manager Shizuo Iwata said the short-term program (2014-2016) prioritizes the decongestion of Metro Manila by improving existing infrastructures and other assets.
“First priority is the missing link, improvement of an entrance to Metro Manila. [The] first important thing to [do is maximize]existing asset and facilities, through human factors or some management capacities.,” he noted.
Iwata suggested that the government align investments necessary to carry out the proposals and expedite decision-making in order to avoid delays.
“[There is] enough money to fund [the projects], the government has money, especially the private sector. They have the capacity, capability, but because of the very unclear decision-making process many projects [have]been delayed . . . so that’s the problem,” Iwata said.
He added that the government is ultimately responsible for implementing the proposals contained in the Dream Plan.
Among the road projects lined up under the short-term program is the filling of the missing links in C5, the construction of the Global City-Ortigas Link Road, the construction of the Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa)-Taft Flyover, and the rehabilitation of Edsa.
The program also enumerated expressway projects such as the Daang Hari-South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Link Toll Road, the North Luzon Expressway-SLEX connectors, Phase 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway, and the Calamba-Los Baños Expressway, among others.
Included in the development projects for rail and road-based mass transport systems are the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension, LRT-2 East Extension, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Capacity Expansion, Mega Manila North-South Commuter Railway, Public Road Passenger Transport Reform Study, and the proposed Bus Rapid Transport System 1, among others.
The short-term program, on top of the cited projects, also includes proposals for improving traffic management systems and the development of airports and ports as part of the overall strategy to decongest Metro Manila traffic.
Iwata, meanwhile, revealed that the government already commissioned the Japanese government to undertake the development of the North-South Commuter Rails.
“It’s already in the pipeline. It’s now at the stage [for approval]by NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) Board, that [is in]the final stage,” the JICA official said.
JICA also submitted proposals to institutions that would facilitate the implementation of the Dream Plan. These proposals include clearing backlogs of unimplemented projects, ramping up the delivery capacity of transport agencies, harnessing the resources of local government units for many secondary roads, and outsourcing project studies to support current institutional weakness, among others.