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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dept. of Transportation and Communication Eyeing Php 320 Billion North South Rail Line

Will the Aquino administration be the one to finally link northern and southern Luzon from Cagayan to Sorsogon by rail?
The plan may be brought by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for cost-benefit analysis either late this year or early next year.
Estimates show a P320–billion cost for the project.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya disclosed this the other day when he presented the proposed DOTC 2015 budget of P54.5 billion before the Senate finance committee chaired by Sen. Francis  Escudero.
“After the NEDA analysis,  we are looking forward to a bidding (of the ambitious project) on PPP (Private–Public Partnership),’’ Abaya said.
Abaya said the project, coined North-South Rail, may be financed by the national government, PPP and Official Development Assistance  (ODA) or a combination between a PPP and the national government.
‘’It is too large for a PPP,’’ Abaya told Escudero.
Abaya said the DOTC has just finished its briefing with its consultant on the project.
The late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos linked the northern-southern Luzon road line through the Philippines-Japan Friendship Highway  (PJHL) project that started in the ‘70s.
The PJHL actually links Luzon, Visayas and eastern Mindanao via two ferry services.
There is an existing rail line between Albay in the Bicol region with Manila through its Tutuban station but the rail operation of the state-owned Philippine National Railway (PNR) between the two points is spotty at best.
The Manila-Damortis (La Union) line in northeastern Luzon, meantime, has been scrapped decades ago.
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