MPIC to finalize location of LRT-MRT common station
MANILA, Philippines – Infrastructure giant Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) – the biggest shareholder of Light Rail Manila Consortium – is set to finalize the design of the proposed P1.4-billion ($32.34 million*) common station of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT).
The common station is part of the P65-billion LRT 1 Cavite Extension project set to be awarded to Light Rail Manila. It will connect LRT 1 from Baclaran to Monumento; MRT 3 from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City; and the proposed MRT 7 of conglomerate San Miguel Corporation. MRT 7 will run from Caloocan City and pass through Lagro and Fairview, Novaliches, Batasan, Diliman, Philcoa, before ending at EDSA.
MPIC president Jose Ma. K. Lim said they are now studying the design approved by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). The design designated Trinoma mall as the location of the station. Trinoma is owned by the Ayala group, the second-biggest shareholder of Light Rail Manila.
“The design as I understand was submitted and we were forced to swallow the design. Now whether it is the most efficient or not or whether it is the cheapest or most cost-effective one, we don’t know at this point,” Lim said.
Lim said their main consideration is how the location would affect the transfer of passengers. He added the consortium has the option to change the location if necessary.
“We have the option to adjust the design to make it more efficient but the government would only take up so much of that cost and it is fixed. Anything above that is ours,” he added.
Instead of shouldering the entire cost of P1.4 billion, the DOTC stated there would be pro-rated sharing of the cost of construction between the government and the winning bidder in case there are enhancements on the proposed common station.
The DOTC approved a 70%-30% sharing between the government and the winning concessionaire, respectively.
“We might choose to make another configuration to make it less risky and not costly. It has to be for the benefit of the LRT and the riding public. It’s not for the benefit of one real estate company,” Lim said.
MPIC leads Light Rail Manila, with 55% stake; Ayala comes next, with 35%; and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) holds 10%.
The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) board chaired by DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya approved on July 25 the awarding of the LRT 1 Cavite extension project to Light Rail Manila.
The location of the common station was subject of a case filed by mall developer SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) against the DOTC and the LRTA before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court.
SMPHI asked the court to stop the agencies from transferring the common station to Trinoma from SM North EDSA mall, citing a memorandum of agreement it signed with LRTA years ago.
SMPHI said it also has the naming rights to the station after paying the government the sum of P200 million ($4.62 million).
The Pasay court junked on June 23 SMPHI’s application for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. However, the Henry Sy-led group said the case seeking to uphold the validity of its MOA was still ongoing.
The DOTC, for its part, said the MOA had lapsed in 2011, when the National Economic and Development Authority approved the station’s latest design. – Rappler.com
*($1 = P43.30)