THE cost of traffic congestion in Metro Manila has ballooned, preliminary data from Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) showed.
In his presentation during the 36th Joint Meeting of the Philippines and Japan Economic Cooperation
Committees on Thursday, JICA Chief Representative Susumo Ito said the traffic cost of P2.4 million a day in 2012 jumped to P3.5 billion a day in 2017.
Traffic demand now stood at 13.4 million trips a day, he said.
“If we do nothing, it will become P5.4 billion a day in 2035,” Ito told the participants of the meeting in Makati City.
With the ballooning traffic cost, the government’s “Build, Build, Build” or BBB infrastructure program was in the right direction, he said.
“With BBB, traffic cost will be reduced to P3 billion a day. And with additional projects, it will be reduced to P2.4 billion a day,” he added.
The Duterte government plans to spend P8 trillion to P9 trillion on public infrastructure, to usher the “Golden Age of Infrastructure” in the Philippines.
The Build, Build, Build program seeks to modernize the country’s infrastructure backbone by rolling out 75 flagship projects worth a combined total of $36 billion.
Twrnty-nine of the 75 projects have been approved by the board of the National Economic and Development Authority, chaired by the President.
The heavy investments on infrastructure will bring the infrastructure budget to 7.3 percent of gross domestic product by 2022, from below 5 percent historically.
From January to November 2017, infrastructure and other capital disbursements have amounted to P486.5 billion, a 14.2 percent year-on-year increase.