Nov 122013

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government will have to spend a total of P2.293 trillion from next year until 2030 to improve its transport system and fix the traffic problem in the Greater Capital Region which covers Metro Manila, Central Luzon and the CALABARZON (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon), according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Speaking at the Management Association of the Philippines’ Special General Membership Meeting yesterday, JICA project manager Shizuo Iwata said that based on a roadmap prepared by the agency for transport infrastructure development in Metro Manila and surrounding areas, the investment would be used for projects to address the worsening traffic congestion in the area.

Among the projects being pushed by the JICA is to connect the North and South Luzon Expressways.

“We already have good expressways in north and south but it is not connected. It can contribute in reduction in EDSA traffic,” he said.

Connecting the two expressways, he said, would also lead to improved port access which would be beneficial for operations of businesses.

Aside from linking the expressways, the JICA is also proposing to elevate the rail tracks of the Philippine National Railways in Metro Manila, as well as to build a new subway from San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan until Dasmarinas in Cavite, so that new roads could be created.

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He noted that if the investment is made,the country would be able to generate savings in vehicle operating costs amounting to P2.1 billion per day, as well as time cost savings of P1.9 billion per day.

By investing in transport systems, he said the country would likewise generate toll and fare revenues worth P397 million daily.

In terms of public transport fare savings, each individual is estimated to be able to save P18 per day and reduce travel time by 49 minutes per trip.

With government expected to raise spending for infrastructure to five percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) from just two to three percent at present, the JICA is of the view the projects could be pursued.

“We assume that half of that (infrastructure spending) can be allocated to transport and 60 percent of funds for transport can go to Greater Capital Region since it accounts for 60 percent of GDP,” Iwata said.

The JICA is set to present the roadmap to Cabinet members on Thursday.

Iwata said he has already discussed the roadmap with the heads of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Transportation and Communications, National Economic and Development Authority and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and they have been supportive so far.

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