Friday, May 30, 2014

Cebu Bus Rapid Transit, Other Transport Projects Get NEDA Greenlight

Wazzup Pilipinas!

In a marathon session lasting until close to midnight, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved several transportation projects last night, said Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Abaya.

“We are pleased that we can now proceed with these projects. They will modernize our country’s transportation systems, and boost travelling convenience, safety, and efficiency for the people. Our hard work today will pay off tomorrow, which is why we now have to make sure that they will be bid out, awarded, and implemented at the soonest possible time,” said Abaya.

The following projects were approved:

P 10.618 Billion Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – the first of its kind in the Philippines, this relatively new land-based system is being introduced by the World Bank, which will finance the project through a loan.

The BRT system, which has been a success in other parts of the world, entails a segregated lane for buses, controlled dispatching, priority in stoplight signaling, fixed stops, and various technical components, all of which are designed to substantially increase passenger mobility.

One of its significant impacts is that its buses will run on fixed schedules, providing riders with greater reliability, efficiency, and convenience.

The project in Cebu will run on a 23-kilometer corridor having 33 stations. It will have 176 high-quality buses. A detailed engineering design (DED) is currently being prepared, and bidding for its construction is scheduled for Q2 of 2015.

P 4.107 Billion Busuanga Airport – with the country’s booming tourism industry, Busuanga is one of the emerging destinations for both the domestic and international markets. To support its continuing growth, a new airport complex will be built to replace the existing one, and will feature a jet-capable runway as well as a new passenger terminal building (PTB).

The transport agency will first bid out the DED component within Q3 of this year, then the construction component in Q2 2015.

Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) Operations and Maintenance (O&M) – this is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project for the 10 to 15 year concession to operate and maintain the LRT-2 system. It will include the current 13.8-kilometer line from Recto to Santolan, as well as the 4.19-kilometer extension to Masinag in Rizal.

This project will result in higher performance standards, improving train availability and punctuality. It will also ensure better system preservation covering the tracks, train coaches, and other facilities.

There is no project cost for the LRT-2 O&M because it requires no capital expenditure. Bidding will allow for premium payments to government. The DOTC is targeting to bid this project out within Q2 2014.

In addition to these projects, the purchase of ten (10) 40-meter Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs) for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) also received the final greenlight. This P 9.267 Billion purchase will equip the PCG with better capability to conduct search and rescue operations for the country’s maritime safety. The vessels are scheduled to be delivered from Q4 2015 until Q4 2017.

Changes in the terms of the P 4-Billion Integrated Transport System (ITS) South Terminal project, as well as the P 2.5 Billion ITS Southwest Terminal project were also approved. These revisions were made in order to improve their commercial attractiveness to bidders. The ITS-South Terminal will be built at the FTI Complex along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), while the ITS-Southwest Terminal is already in the process of bidding, for construction along Coastal Road.

The ITS system, another innovation of the Aquino administration’s Transportation Department, will create intermodal hubs where provincial buses will stop, allowing its passengers to transfer to other in-city modes of transport such as rail lines, city buses, and UV Express services. These will make travel more efficient and convenient for passengers, as well as decongest traffic in the main thoroughfares of Metro Manila since provincial bus terminals within the metropolis will no longer be allowed to operate.

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