Gov’t sets P100B for railway projects

Metro Manila Subway train

THE government is set to invest at least P100 billion in railways in 2020.

This was disclosed during the deliberation on the proposed budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) which proposes to multiply investments in railways.

For 2020, the DOTr will be spending P100.6 billion to build, renew and upgrade railways.

Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said this is good news as this is five times the P19.9-billion allocation this year.

The bulk of the spending, or P84.8 billion, is meant for North-South Commuter Railway System.

Campos is referring to the 147-kilometer, 36-station elevated railway project that will run from Calamba, Laguna to New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

The railway will also provide a direct link to Clark International Airport in the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat in Pampanga.

Campos said the DOTr’s allocation for the Railway Construction, Rehabilitation and Improvement Program in the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 also includes:

• P9.8 billion for the Metro Manila Subway Project Phase 1;

• P5 billion for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3 Rehabilitation Project;

• P878 million for the South Long-Haul Project that will link up Metro Manila, Calabarzon and Bicol and cut travel time between Manila and Legazpi City to just six hours, from 13 hours;

• P97 million for the Mindanao Railway Project; and

• P74 million for the LRT Line 1 Cavite Extension Project.

Of the P9.8-billion for the Metro Manila subway, P4.6 billion will be covered by loan proceeds, while the P5.2-billion balance represents the Philippine government’s counterpart funding for the project.

The initial phase of the subway is being financed in part by a P51.2-billion (104.6 billion yen) loan from the Japanese government.

The DOTR is expected to begin tunneling work on the country’s first underground rapid transit system by the last quarter of this year.

As to the 639-kilometer South Long-Haul Railway, the initial loan agreement for the project was signed in Beijing on Thursday during the bilateral meeting between President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Philippine National Railways project is being co-funded by a P175.3-billion loan from the Chinese government.