THE proposed P3.7 trillion budget for 2018 has allocated P17 billion for expanding the capacity of commuter trains and other related transportation facilities, a lawmaker at the House of Representatives said Sunday.
Minority Leader and Rep. Joselito Atienza of the Buhay party-list welcomed the appropriation, noting that it is imperative for the government to cope with the growing demand for high-speed and affordable public transportation.
The P17 billion is broken down into:
* P4.8 billion in subsidy to the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, plus P1 billion for increased capacity;
* P1.3 billion for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension Project;
* the 11.7-kilometer train line from Baclaran, Parañaque City to Niog, Bacoor City expected to carry 410,000 passengers daily;
* P1.2 billion for the Unified Common Station Project at SM North EDSA and TriNoma malls in Quezon City expected to service 500,000 commuters daily;
* the 22.8-kilometer MRT 7 line now under construction from North Avenue, Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan via Commonwealth Avenue;
* P895 million for the LRT Line 2 Rizal Extension Project, the four-kilometer train line from Santolan, Pasig City to Masinag, Antipolo City anticipated to carry 80,000 riders daily;
* the P608 million for the LRT Line 2 Manila Extension Project;
* the three-kilometer train line from Recto Avenue to Pier 4 North Harbor;
* the P7.1 billion for the North-South Railway Project Phase 2 and the 653-kilometer Tutuban-Calamba-Batangas-Legaspi-Matnog train line meant to serve 400,000 commuters daily.
“Once we have more trains, people would rely less on cars when going to work or school simply because they are able to save a lot of time and cut down on fuel and parking expenses,” Atienza said in a statement.
“Rail projects create more livable settlements, enhance property values around stations, increase local property as well as business taxes. Likewise, less vehicles on the roads means improved air quality around Metro Manila,” Atienza added.