Expanding Mass Transit in Metro Manila

NEDA's given the greenlight to MRT-7. The pricetag? $3.3B, but that doesn't all go to rail:
The scheme calls for a 20-kilometer light rail system integrated with a 20-kilometer highway that will link the North Triangle area in Quezon City with San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan province.

“So all in all, this will be a 40-kilometer project and will come at no cost to the government (since it would be funded through the BOT scheme),” Santos explained.

The rail and road network is expected to cost as much as $1.3 billion, while the commercial and residential developments that are expected to rise along the route would cost another $2 billion.
Wait a minute. The "commercial and residential developments that are expected to rise along the route" will cost $2B and is part of the BOT?

Like MRT-8, this seems to be more of a real estate deal than a public infra project.

I'd like to see how all that "development" is going to be distributed. I'm betting most of it will be along the 20 kilometer highway, NOT along the 20-kilometer rail route. So much for leveraging the transit investment. More like the investors are leveraging government funds for their investments.

I have not seen any detailed plans, although they've given the general locations of the 14 stations, we do need to pay close attention to how these stations are designed and sited. For example: will the locations make it easy for commuters to transfer to connecting jeepneys? (To get to UP from the University Station? or to Ateneo from the Tandang Sora station?)

What will also be important is how the local government and the LTO respond to the plans for the stations. Quezon City should re-zone around the stations to get more density and more riders. The LTO and LTFRB should reconsider jeepney routes to feed the stations.

I would have much rather a Bus Rapid Transit project in place of light rail. The $1.2 billion (for the railway) would have brought at least 60 kilometers of BRT. Plus, a BRT system would have allowed the existing transport franchise holders (jeeps and buses) to possibly participate in the venture.


Peter said...

happy new year

the questions you ask are relevant but perhaps more importantly is why are they building this when there are more important infrastructure projects even in MM mass transit.

ostensibly a BOT , it is unsolicited though and another line (Line 4 which was planned earlier and has conflicts with this line) is actually higher priority on the solicited list

as an unsolicited BOT this should have no Gov't guarantees yet we know that this project by itself will never pay off given the high rates of returns needed by the proponents

at this point what i would be very very interested to know is if there is some sort of gov't guarantee (explicit or defacto) behind this project. it's one reason why DOF has repeatedly shot it down

here's another discussion on the issue
Post 651

Urbano dela Cruz said...


thanks for the link to the discussion.

I'd take Neil Cruz's column with a (very big) grain of salt. He can be "convinced" by vested interests.

Also, we do need an efficient mass transit system on commonwealth -but your first motive for putting up mass transit should NEVER be to reduce traffic.

I'm very worried about the piecemeal approach to mass transit. I know the justification is we are budget strapped so we take what we can but not having the money to build the lines ourselves doesn't mean we shouldn't have standards and plans of what should be built where.

I really wish we had a reporter/reporters, columnists who are enlightened enough to push for BRT as an alternative to this suspicious deal.


Peter said...

time to enact that coalition of the willing. so what are your ideas on this.

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