• P1.6B allotted to start CALA Expressway project


    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said over the weekend that the government has released P1.6 billion to jumpstart the implementation of the Cavite-Laguna (CALA) Expressway Project.

    In a statement, the DBM said the funds will be used to acquire rights of way and contract services for the project in line with the government’s bid to complete all road infrastructure projects by 2016.

    The CALA project will entail the financing, design, and construction of a new 47.018-kilometer, four-lane expressway from the end of the Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) in Kawit, Cavite to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna.

    The fund was charged against the Public-Private Partnership Strategic Support Fund of the Department of Public Works and Highways provided in the 2014 General Appropriations Act.

    According to the DBM, the total project cost is set at P35.4 billion, with P25.2 billion or 71 percent of the project to be undertaken by a private sector counterpart under a public-private partnership scheme.

    Meanwhile, the remaining P10.2 billion will be shouldered by the national government.

    The DBM also noted that implementation of the project, which will be done pursuant to a Multi-Year Obligational Authority issued by the DBM, is expected to begin this year. The project is expected to be finished in 2018.

    The four-lane expressway connecting the 28.7-kilometer Cavite Section (Cavitex-Silang) and the 18.4-km Laguna Section (Silang to SLEX-Biñan) will include the construction of 51 bridges and eight interchanges. The construction of a toll operation building, centralized toll plazas, and toll collection systems will also be part of the project.

    For his part, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said the construction of the CALA Expressway would improve accessibility to the economic and industrial zones in the region, opening more opportunities for investment.

    “We’re talking about greater accessibility to and from NAIA [Ninoy Aquino International Airport], as well [as]to and from our seaports in Manila and Batangas, for example. But more important is the decongestion of traffic between Cavite and Laguna, so our commuters will have an easier time plying this route daily,” he said.

    Abad said that the government has continuously increased the budget for infrastructure every year, noting that for 2014 alone, P442 billion has been set aside for public infrastructure.

    “This figure will eventually go up to P800 billion in 2016. That’s five percent of the country’s GDP [gross domestic product],” he said.

    The DBM Secretary also stressed that larger investments in public infrastructure create a real and positive impact on the country’s economy.

    “By devoting more of the budget to infrastructure, we can spur commercial activity, help the expansion of local industries, and create more opportunities for livelihood and employment. Investing in infrastructure is investing in the Filipino people,” he said.


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