FUNDING for the construction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1s extension to Cavite was secured on Friday, when Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) signed the loan and security agreement with three locally listed banks to the tune of P24 billion.
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., Security Bank Corp. and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. were tapped to fund the initial P15.3-billion requirement for the construction of the first few stations in Cavite and the P8.7-billion rehabilitation of the train system.
The LRMCcontrolled by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp.also signed on Friday the engineering, procurement and construction agreement with French companies Bouyges Travaux Publics and Alstom Transport. The contract is worth around 450 million, including approximately 160 million for Alstom.
These milestone agreements give us significant headway toward the construction and commissioning of the much-awaited Cavite Extension, which will benefit an additional 300,000 passengers from four big cities in southern Manila, LRMC President and CEO Jesus P. Francisco said in a news briefing in Makati City.
Alstom will provide an integrated metro solution, which includes signaling and communication system, traction power supply and track work on the 12-kilometer extended line, including one new depot and the extension of the existing depot.
Alstom will also equip Atlas 100 onboard signaling solution for 60 trains and revamp signaling system for the existing 20-km line.
Bouygues Travaux Publics, on the other hand, will provide the railway infrastructure for the Cavite Extension. It is known globally for complex projects involving tunnels, engineering structures, and road, port and rail infrastructure, most recent of which were the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridget, the Port of Miami Tunnel and the Nmes-Montpellier rail bypass in France. Construction of the extension, Francisco said, will be slated for June, once the government completes the delivery of the transport infrastructures right of way (Row), which is packaged into three phases. The first package of the easementwhich covers the first five stationsis almost 100-percent delivered.
Were quite happy with the developments in the right of way one [first phase]. So far, they have acquired mostor about 95 percent of the property that are needed. Our main concern is that there are still illegal settlers, but we got the report of the grantors that by April, they expect to do relocation of most of them, if not all of them, Francisco said.
He added: Were looking forward to the grantors doing that because, as we all know, that its going to be very difficult for us to start the construction only to stop because there are still things blocking the way.
Targeted for completion in about four years after the delivery of Row, the 11.7-kilometer Cavite Extension will connect into the existing system immediately south of the Baclaran Station and run in a generally southerly direction to Niyog, Cavite. It will consist of elevated guideways throughout the majority of the alignment, except for the guideway section in Zapote, which will be at grade.
Eight new stations will be provided with three intermodal facilities across Pasay City, Paraaque City, Las Pias City and Cavite. The new stations are Aseana, Manila International Airport, Asia World, Ninoy Aquino, Dr. Santos, Las Pias, Zapote and Niog. The intermodal facilities shall be at Dr. Santos, Zapote and Niog.
The commercial speed of the Cavite Extension will be 60 km per hour (km/h). The horizontal alignment shall be designed for a train speed of 80 km/h for the mainline track; 60 km/h through stations; and 30 km/h for secondary and depot tracks. The new stations will be accessible to and from nearby community facilities, such as shops, schools, stadium, park, etc. Their locations will suit passenger-flow routes from residential areas.
Pedestrian access to all new stations will be direct, safe and easy. Details such as lighting to distinguish access points, pedestrian cross striping and curb cuts for handicapped access will be provided.
Noel Eli B. Kintanar, the Filipino railway companys chief development officer, noted that his group also plans to open up the stations for retail businesses and use the system to generate ad revenues.
We have partnered up with Ayala Land Inc. to try to uplift the retail experience along the line. Now on the advertising side, weve picked an ad partner that has experience in Southeast Asia and even in London, the whole idea is to get that good experience to the commuter, that when he goes out, it is not cluttered, he said.
The company has partnered with international media company Phar Partnerships Pte. Ltd. for the commercialization of all nonfare box revenue streams across the entire train line, which includes all forms of advertising, major brand partnerships, Wi-Fi, fiber optics, retail-led solutions, naming rights, data and applications, automated teller machines and other category partnerships.
The private company holds the concession for the operations, maintenance and extension of the train line. It signed the agreement with the government in October 2014. The company will operate and maintain the oldest train system in the Philippines for 32 years.
The extension is expected to enhance commercial development around the rail stations.
The government recently invited Japanese firms to bid for the contract to supply 120 brand-new train cars for the railway line.
The capacity-augmentation program will be funded through a loan extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, hence, the procurement will be exclusive to Japanese companies or consortia.
These 120 light-rail vehicles will be configured in 30 four-car train sets, to allow the rail line to accommodate up to about 750,000 passengers daily.
LRMC secures P24-billion financing for LRT 1 Cavite Extension project