MANILA, Philippines – The construction of the proposed Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) common station between SM North EDSA and TriNoma malls will be done in two and a half years, said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
A memorandum of agreement between all stakeholders had been signed last September 28, but Tugade said a formal deal will still be signed before 2016 ends.
“At the rate things are going, it seems like a done deal. But until I saw the signature on the blank… there will be a formal signing. It will be a go and we will finish it in two and a half years,” Tugade said on the sidelines of a ribbon cutting ceremony in Pasay City on Tuesday, December 20.
“That has been pending for the last 7 years,” he added. (READ: Art Tugade and his inherited headaches)
The compromise agreement will resolve the impasse over the 2009 train station project, which hampered the construction of some badly-needed mass transit infrastructure projects like the MRT Line 7 (MRT7).
“[The signing of the compromise agreement is seen] before the end of the year,” Tugade said.
The common station – which will connect the MRT7, MRT Line 3 (MRT3), and LRT Line 1 (LRT1) – will provide a concourse or atrium where train commuters can conveniently transfer from one line to another.
The Department of Public Works and Highways said there is “an underpass being built that will seamlessly integrate with the common station.”
The compromise agreement will pave the way for the filing of a joint motion before the Supreme Court (SC) to lift the temporary restraining order that was previously issued.
It was in August 2014 when SM Prime Holdings Incorporated (SMPHI) obtained an SC order stopping the transportation department and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) from transferring the location of the common station to TriNoma mall.
The basis of the order was a September 28, 2009 memorandum of agreement between SMPHI and LRTA, agreeing that the common station should be beside SM North EDSA, after the mall developer paid the government P200 million for the naming rights to the proposed station.
Despite the agreement, the government in 2014 insisted that putting up the proposed common station near TriNoma mall would result in “P1 billion in savings to the government” and benefit passengers as the Quezon City government is establishing the North Triangle area as a new business district.
When Tugade assumed office, he promised to get all stakeholders to reach an agreement on the common station within his first 100 days. – Rappler.com