DOTr wants subway project done by 2022

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MRT Train. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RAFFY LERMA

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) wants an ambitious subway project for Metro Manila operational before President Duterte’s term ends in 2022, or earlier than initially planned.

The project, to be backed by a loan from the Japanese government, would be the country’s first underground railway system once completed. The original target completion date for the Quezon City-to-Taguig link was 2024.

The new target timeline was given by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade during the department’s most recent steering committee meeting. Among those present were officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), which gave updates on the feasibility study being conducted on the Metro Manila subway project.

The subway alignment has 13 stations, starting from Mindanao Avenue and ending at the Food Terminal Inc. complex in Taguig. According to the government’s online infrastructure portal, the subway project would cost P227 billion.

The project will span 25 kilometers, and will serve an initial 370,000 passengers per day traveling between major business and government centers in the capital district.

It would complement Metro Manila’s three elevated train systems, which collectively carry about one million passengers per day.

According to the DOTr, the project would cut the usual one to two-hour travel time between Quezon City and Taguig to just 30 minutes.

Tugade also proposed that the subway be extended to Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the country’s busiest air gateway, which is located in Pasay City.

“I need to have that connectivity. I have a big problem with Naia because of the projected increase in volume of passengers,” Tugade said.

He also proposed a training facility for railway operators.

During the meeting, Jica also presented organizational arrangements “to ensure that the subway will be constructed, operated, and maintained by a competent and dedicated team of certified operators and experts.”

The subway system will have water-stop panels, doors, and high-level entrance for flood prevention, earthquake detection, and a train stop system just like the subways in Tokyo.

Tugade earlier said that President Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were expected to sign a loan agreement for the Mega Manila Subway Project during the latter’s visit to the Philippines in November.

The subway line, previously described under the Public-Private Partnership program as a Makati-Pasay-Taguig Mass Transit System Loop, aimed to connect major business districts in Metro Manila via an underground train.

It was shelved during the Aquino administration due to its massive cost and questions over right of way for overhead stations in the Bonifacio Global City stretch. –Miguel R. Camus



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