After a seven-year delay, construction of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT7) can commence after the private concessionaire, San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) Universal LRT Corp. BVI Ltd (ULC), completed financial closure requirements.

“We have already submitted the required documents to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) last week, certifying the commitment from us and our banks to provide financing facilities for the project,” ULC Chairman Ramon S. Ang said in a statement on Monday.

The project involves the construction of a 22.8-kilometer rail line that will connect Quezon City to Bulacan. It was originally scheduled to start in 2009 but was delayed because SMC failed to secure a performance undertaking from the Department of Finance.

A performance undertaking is a guaranty issued by the government that an entity implementing a project will comply with its obligations.

In 2014, the DOF signed the performance undertaking for the MRT7 project after the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Cabinet Committee endorsed it to President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

Having achieved financial closure, the contract for the construction of the MRT7 is now deemed “Contract Effective” under the terms of the MRT7 concession agreement, SMC said.

With the achievement of the financial closure and “contract effectiveness,” the MRT7 concessionaire has requested DOTC to determine the date for the project’s groundbreaking.

The MRT7 will have 14 stations that will cover the 22.8-kilometer stretch from San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan to North Avenue in Quezon City, where it will meet with the MRT3 that cuts though EDSA and LRT1 which run through Taft and Rizal Avenues.

It is expected to ferry 448,000 to 850,000 passengers per day.

The MRT7 construction timeline submitted by MRT7 EPC contractor Hyundai Rotem-EEI consortium, has been approved by the DOTC.

The timeline calls for details the MRT7 construction and construction-related activities to start on February 18, 2016.

The mass rail system is expected to be up and running by August 2019.