Work on delayed PPP could start later this year
Work on the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) extension to Cavite could finally start in the second half of this year, Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) said on Friday, as it announced a joint venture firm’s signing of a loan facility and an infrastructure deal for the P65-billion public private partnership (PPP) project.
Light Rail Manila Corp (LRMC) on February 11 signed a P24-billion, 15-year Omnibus Loan and Security Agreement with Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., Security Bank Corp and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Ayala and MPIC said in separate disclosures.
An engineering, procurement and construction agreement with France’s Alstom Transport and Bouygues Travaux Publics was also inked at the same time, the listed firms said.
LRMC, a joint venture between Ayala’s AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., MPIC’s Metro Pacific Light Rail Corp. and Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure’s Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) PTE Ltd., was awarded a 32-year concession contract in September 2014 after offering the government a P9.35-billion premium for the PPP project.
Work on the extension has yet to start nearly one and a half years later, with issues such as a legal row over a planned station and right of way delivery still to be settled, although rehabilitation work on the existing line began recently.
LRMC President and Chief Executive Officer Jesus Franscisco said Alstom Transport and Bouygues Travaux Publics would start construction work once the right of way is delivered by the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Light Rail Transit Authority.
“Hopefully by the second half of this year,” Francisco was quoted as saying in a statement.
With regard to the P24-billion loan facility, P15.3 billion will be used for the construction of the11.7-kilometer extension from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite and P8.7 billion for the rehabilitation of the existing 19.65-kilometer line.
“These milestone agreements give us significant headway towards the construction and commissioning of the much-awaited Cavite Extension which will benefit an additional 300,000 passengers from four big cities in southern Manila,” Francisco said.
Dominique Pouliquen, Alstom’s senior vice president for Asia, said: “We are pleased to sign this contract today which aims to offer Manila’s inhabitants a safe, fast and reliable transportation system which takes part in the economic development of the Philippines.”
Alstom Transport will undertake railway systems work, including the power supply, train control and signaling system for the expanded railway, while Bouygues Travaux Publics will provide the infrastructure for the Cavite extension.
Completion of the extension project is targeted some four years after delivery of the right of way.
Eight new stations—Aseana, MIA, Asia World, Ninoy Aquino, Dr. Santos, Las Pinas, Zapote and Niyog.—will be added to the existing 20. The extension will mostly be elevated, except for the guideway section at Zapote that will be at grade and include a satellite depot. Three intermodal facilities will also be built to facilitate access to other transport systems.
The LRT-1 line is Metro Manila’s oldest elevated railway, having been opened in 1984 and originally spanning Monumento to Baclaran. The line was extended to Roosevelt in Quezon City in 2010.