The P43-billion Light Rail Transit Line 4 (LRT-4) public private partnership (PPP) project is set to return to the drawing board after the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) was unable to roll it out before its stamp of approval expired last month.
The PPP deal, which aimed to link Taytay, Rizal to Ortigas Avenue in Metro Manila via an 11-kilometer train line, would need a fresh approval from the board of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), PPP Center executive director Andre Palacios told reporters in a recent interview.
“Right now, it’s off the table,” Palacios said.
“There’s a six month period for validity from the approval of Neda. It expired in March,” he said. “We are waiting for the DOTC on the next step.”
A November 2015 project brief from the DOTC showed the LRT-4 would have addressed limited transportation options for residents in Taytay and nearby areas.
The project would benefit hundreds of thousands of people in the area. The department said most districts in Taytay have over 100,000 people while other areas have around 200,000. Taytay population is also growing by at least 3 percent annually.
The DOTC added, “Ortigas Avenue is highly congested—with over 4,000 public transport passengers every hour and travel speeds during peak hour of around 12 kilometers per hour, much lower than the average for Metro Manila.
The government planned to offer to the winning bidder a 34-year concession period for the LRT-4 project. The auction period was supposed to run from February to August this year while construction would have started in June 2017 with completion and start of operations by June 2021.
“They [DOTC] might want to do a fuller feasibility study and when the new study becomes available, they’ll bring it back,” Palacios said.
The LRT-4 was planned to run west of SM City in Taytay towards the intersection of Ortigas Avenue and EDSA. The project would have six stations: EDSA (transfer station with the Metro Rail Transit Line 3), Meralco Avenue, Pasig, Bonifacio Avenue, L Wood Road and North Manila Road.
Apart from serving transport needs, added benefits included incentives “to the public to relocate to the area around Taytay, thus lessening the burden on Metro Manila infrastructure, and spur job growth, as people can access a wider geographical range of job and schooling opportunities.”
The DOTC has other railway projects under procurement, including the P171-billion North South Railway Project (South Line), the LRT-6 project and the operations and maintenance of the LRT-2. Among these, only the LRT-2 has the potential to be auctioned off before President Aquino steps down in the middle of this year.
So far, 12 PPP deals valued over P200 billion have been awarded and four were set to be finished before June 2016. Another 14 projects listed as “under procurement” also included airport, expressway and water supply projects.
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