SENATOR Sonny Angara yesterday said that expanding and rehabilitating the railway systems should be the first step taken to decongest traffic in Metro Manila if the government wants to make an impact right away.
Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, vowed to look for ways to support the programs of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to decongest Metro Manila, not only for the long-term, but also in the short and medium term for the sake of the commuters, motorists and the economy as a whole.
The DoTr has several projects aimed at decongesting the roads in Metro Manila, some of which are already being implemented while the others are still in the pipeline. These include the rehabilitation of the MRT-3, the revival of the Philippine National Rail (PNR) trains and the development of a subway system.
During a briefing on the proposed P147 billion budget of the DOTr for 2020, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade acknowledged that increasing the number of “trains” within and outside of Metro Manila is key to reducing the volume of vehicles on the Metro roads.
The DoTr noted that for every train pulling eight cars, 448 vehicles could be removed from the roads, assuming each car carries five passengers.
However, the task of rehabilitating the railways would be very challenging based on the data presented by the DoTr.
Construction for the first phase of the Metro Manila subway system is set to start this November. Once completed, the subway will connect Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City.