• NEDA approves P372.8-B infra projects

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    The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved six infrastructure projects costing an estimated P372.80 billion at a meeting held in Malacañang Palace on Monday.

    Socieconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the projects are consistent with the government’s thrust to increase investment in connective infrastructure.

    “These projects will support the government’s goal of increasing infrastructure spending to at least 5.1 percent in 2016. We hope that they will be implemented efficiently and effectively,” he said.

    Chaired by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, the NEDA Board said the approved projects include the Panguil Bay Bridge, one of the high priority development projects in Mindanao, which should reduce travel time along the 100-kilometer national road between Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental and Tubod, Lanao del Norte from 2.5 hours to 37 minutes.

    The Panguil Bay Bridge is estimated to cost P5.09 billion, which will be fully financed by the government. Implementation will start this year and finish in 2018, as assigned to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

    Two other projects were approved under the North-South Railway masterplan:

    Phase 1 of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) Project, which the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will implement. It will involve the construction of a 36.7-kilometer narrow-gauge elevated commuter railway from Malolos to Tutuban.

    “It aims to improve the efficiency of land transportation capacity of Metro Manila and provide a more environmentally sustainable mode of transport,” the Board said.

    The project’s estimated cost is P117.30 billion, and the target date of implementation is from 2015, with a 35-year operation period starting 2020.

    Another approved project—the North-South Railway Project- South Line, a public-private partnership (PPP) project of the DOTC—is estimated to cost P170.70 billion.

    This project consists of commuter railway operations between Tutuban in Manila and Calamba, Laguna. It also includes a long-haul railway operation between Tutuban and Legaspi, Albay and on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and an extension between Legaspi and Matnog.

    Three more PPP projects were approved: the expansion of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), costing an estimated P24.303 billion; the P20-billion NLEX-SLEX Connector; and the rebidding of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway Project, estimated to cost P35.4 billion.

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