The final terms of reference for the Swiss challenge for the Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) connector road project should be finalized this month, an official with the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC) said Tuesday.
“We are slated to be included in the next agenda of the next NEDA [National Economic and Development Authority] Board,” MPTC President Ramon Fernandez told reporters.
“If we get approved this month, in another month kailangan magsimula na iyon [it must start],” Fernandez said, noting that the project cost has increased.
“I don’t have the exact figure, but tumaas siya [it increased], for the remaining five kilometers, because we have to make adjustments for the Commuter Rail. It’s a little substantial but still manageable,” Fernandez said.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), together with the Metro Pacific
Tollways Development Corp. (MPTDC) and its subsidiaries as original proponents, have started the 80-day negotiation period in preparation for the Swiss challenge.
Under the Swiss challenge system, the government agency in charge of the project has to find third parties to match or outbid the original offer received for the project.
As of June 29, MPTDC and DPWH had completed negotiations on the revised scope of the Connector Project, including the selection of MNTC as the concessionaire for the implementation of the project.
“Hopefully, the project will be approved and the Swiss challenge can commence immediately after,” MNTC President Rodrigo Franco said in reply to a text question sent by The Manila Times.
In July, MNTC said that the government had approved the new concept design for the NLEX-SLEX connector road project.
Franco explained that after the reconfirmation of terms and NEDA approval, the project would be subjected to a Swiss Challenge.
MNTC said that a Swiss Challenge would add at least a year to the project schedule.
In January 2014, the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) and Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) signed an agreement for the construction of a connector road under similar terms as the existing MPIC concession rights for the operation of NLEX through the Manila North Tollways Corp.
MPIC had proposed a 13.4-kilometer, four-lane expressway from Caloocan City to Makati City to link the North and South Luzon expressways.
In October last year, MPIC’s P18-billion NLEX-SLEX connector road proposal was opened for bidding after a government decision to subject the proposed four-lane expressway to a Swiss Challenge.
Unsolicited project proposals are subject to a Swiss Challenge, a form of public procurement that requires a government agency that has received an unsolicited bid for a public project or services, to publish the bid and invite third parties to match or exceed it.
From January to June 30, 2015, MNTC’s net income from operating the NLEX amounted to P1.45 billion from P1.34 billion in 2014, an increase of 8 percent.
The company said that the increase was mainly due to high traffic growth, stronger non-toll revenues, and better cost controls.
The NLEX average daily traffic during the first half of 2015 reached 198,500 daily entries, 7.1 percent higher than the same period last year. The increase traffic caused revenues to reach P4.05 billion from P3.77 billion in 2014, or 7 percent higher than last year.