DOTr seeks P164 billion funding for railways

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
DOTr seeks P164 billion funding for railways
Photos show a Philippine National Railways (PNR) train as it arrives in España Station, Manila on July 15, 2023.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is seeking P164 billion in funding for the construction and maintenance of seven rail lines within and around Metro Manila in 2024.

Based on the 2024 National Expenditure Program, the DOTr is asking P187.21 billion from Congress for programs and projects it plans to undertake next year.

The bulk of the budget, at P163.75 billion, will go to the rail transport program, as the DOTr eyes to speed up the pace of civil and rehabilitation works.

The North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) will receive P76.34 billion next year, with the DOTr trying to keep up with its target of completing it by 2028. The department will shoulder P53.26 billion of that allocation mainly for the procurement of right-of-way (ROW).

The NSCR, funded by Japan, will cost P873.62 billion and is slated for completion by 2028. The railway will traverse three regions – Central Luzon, Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog – running from New Clark City to Calamba, Laguna.

For 2024, the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) will get an allocation of P68.37 billion, of which the government will pay P21.68 billion for ROW and tax expenses.

Set to become the first underground rail in the Philippines, the MMSP will extend for around 33 kilometers across seven cities in Metro Manila and will cut travel time between Quezon City and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to 35 minutes.

Further, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) will obtain P10.29 billion for its maintenance and rehabilitation, including the equity rental to Sobrepeña-led Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC).

The DOTr pays a monthly fee ranging from P600 million to P900 million to MRTC as its share in fare collection from MRT-3. The DOTr will stop remitting yearly equity to MRTC by the end of its build-lease-transfer contract in 2025.

Apart from this, Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez told The STAR that the DOTr would use the budget to pay its share in the delivery of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite Extension. It will also spend for the pre-construction works of the Metro Rail Transit Line 4 and Philippine National Railways South Long Haul.

On top of rails, the DOTr will deploy its 2024 budget to expand and upgrade land transport (P6.4 billion), aviation facilities (P6.09 billion) and maritime projects (P987.56 million).

The agency will appropriate P500 million for the development of active transport in urban areas, particularly for the construction of bike lanes and pedestrian walkways.

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