16 years of Trillion peso spending for easing Metro Manila congestion

Wow. According to this Japanese expert it will cost so much money and so long a time before we can get Metro Manila to enjoy being free of congestion. It this possible? Most likely not. But maybe we should try what we can in the two years left of this current administration and spend as much money in infrastructure. A real stimulus spending program. What do you think?

From BusinessWorld Philippines

September 24, 2014

NCR solution to need half of outlay for infrastructure

IT WILL TAKE about half the country’s infrastructure budget for 16 years to substantially ease congestion in the National Capital Region (NCR) and surrounding areas, a Japanese aid consultant and a socioeconomic planner said yesterday.

“The overall cost of ‘Dream Plan’ is P2.61 trillion, while P4.756 trillion is the so-called budget envelope. The budget envelope is not the actual budget but it includes totals fund that can be mobilized by both public and private sectors for infrastructure development in the country,” Shizuo Iwata, project manager of Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA) “Dream Plan” to decongest Metro Manila by 2030, said in an e-mail.

Pablito M. Abellera, who heads the Transportation Division of the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) inter-agency Infrastructure Committee, confirmed that “[t]he P2.6-trillion overall cost of the ‘Dream Plan’ is part of the P4.756-trillion estimated overall infrastructure budget until 2030,” which in turn is equivalent to 5% of gross domestic product for the period.

The NEDA Board, led by President Benigno S.C. Aquino III as chairman, approved on June 19 JICA’s 16-year Road map for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas, known simply as the “Dream Plan.”

The road map study, conducted from March 2013 to last March, outlined a plan towards 2030 for sustainable development for Metro Manila, Central Luzon (Region III) and the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon (Calabarzon or Region IV-A) that will require P2.61 trillion ($65.3 billion) in investment and a budget of P4.756 trillion from 2014 to 2030.

It also outlined a P520.44-billion short-term program for 2014-2016 consisting of: P305.465 billion worth of expressways and roads; P178.823 billion worth of railways; P12.085 billion worth of sea ports; P11.368 billion worth of airports; P8.340 billion for bus systems; and P4.359 billion for traffic management projects.

NEDA’s Mr. Abellera explained that an estimated 52% of the short-term program will be financed by a mix of official development assistance (ODA) fund and government funding, while the balance will consist of private sector investments.

“[F]or medium- and long-term projects amounting to about P2 trillion, a third of it will come from the private sector and the remaining is through the combination of government and ODA,” he added.

The road map emphasizes the need to establish better north-south connectivity, a hierarchy of various transportation modes (i.e., roads, railways and mass transit systems), planned and guided urban expansion to adjoining provinces through integrated public transport, affordable housing for low-income groups; expand multi-modal public transport networks; and strengthen traffic management systems.

The “Dream Plan” includes construction of 504 kilometers (km) of intercity and urban expressways, 137 km of other roads, and 318 km of railways.

Maps provided in the summary of the JICA study showed that the bulk of Metro Manila’s roads would have traffic volume way beyond designed capacity “if nothing is done by 2030.”

If the road map is implemented, it is expected to yield economic savings of P1.2 trillion a year starting 2030, public transport fare savings of P18 per person per day, travel time reduction by 49 minutes per person per trip, and additional toll and fare revenues of P119 billion annually.

Sought for comment, Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” B. Abad said in a text message yesterday: “I don’t think funding — while the requirements are huge and may not be readily available — is the real issue.”

Mr. Abad explained that key hurdles to the “Dream Plan” would be “first, the ability of government agencies and their counterparts in the private sector to absorb such a huge budget and, second, the ability of the present traffic situation to accommodate more congestion with the additional construction activities that will take place.”

He noted, for instance, that there is “money for the EDSA national road rehabilitation but we cannot implement the project because of… aggravation of the already-congested main artery.”

Michael Arthur C. Sagcal, spokesman of the Transportation department, said his agency’s part in the “Dream Plan” is to roll out and implement infrastructure deals aimed at decongesting Metro Manila.

“Our rail projects, for instance, will move more motorists and commuters off of the roads and on to rail systems,” he said via text.

The Transportation department, Mr. Sagcal said, should be able to complete by 2019 roughly P147 billion worth of rail projects, namely: the P64.9-billion Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Cavite Extension; the P62.7-billion Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 7; the P9.7-billion MRT Line 3 Capacity Expansion; and the P9.7-billion LRT Line 2 Masinag Extension.

“[Y]ou may note that we are able to bring down government cost, as in the case of LRT-1 Cavite Extension, where the P35-billion component for infrastructure was absorbed by the private sector partner, which even put in a… premium of P9.35 billion,” Mr. Sagcal said.

The LRT-1 extension deal was awarded on Sept. 13 to the group of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp. which offered the premium on top of project cost.

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=NCR solution to need half of outlay for infrastructure&id=95013

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