MANILA, Philippines – The Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) expects up to 9% growth in the annual vehicular traffic of Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), as it formally takes over the operations and maintenance (O&M) of the country’s longest toll road.
State-run Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) on Thursday, November 5, officially turned over the O&M of SCTEX to the Manuel V. Pangilinan-led MNTC. The concessionaire shelled out an upfront payment of P3.5 billion ($74.60 million) for the contract.
“We do expect that the operations of SCTEX will be viable from the start. Actually, the traffic has been building up because of the long delay. Between 2009 and today, the traffic has increased to over 30,000 vehicles daily from below 8,000,” Jose Ma Lim, president and CEO of MNTC’s parent firm Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), said on the sidelines of the ceremonial turnover in Pampanga.
“With the higher traffic, the difficult years when the operations were not yet profitable has already been passed,” Lim added.
According to the MPIC executive, his group is expecting 8% to 9% growth in annual vehicular traffic.
Average daily vehicular traffic along SCTEX has grown more than threefold to about 30,855 from 9,302 when the road started operations in 2008, BCDA said.
To recall, MNTC submitted revised proposals for the SCTEX deal after Malacañang suspended the company’s July 2011 business and operating agreement with BCDA for the 94-kilometer toll road.
Malacañang approved MNTC’s proposal in November 2014, but decided to subject it to a “price challenge” to get “the highest upfront cash value.”
The contract required from MNTC a P3.5-billion ($74.60 million) upfront payment, inclusive of value-added tax. It is also required to share half of gross toll revenues with BCDA, as well as assume road operations and maintenance costs of SCTEX.
For MNTC President and CEO Rodrigo Franco, the turnover “paves the way for the start of improvement of services on SCTEX,” citing the integration of toll collection systems of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and SCTEX.
This is aimed at “removing toll barriers along NLEX and SCTEX so that instead of the current 5 stops motorists from Manila have to make to get to Subic, it will be reduced to just two,” Franco said.
With Japan’s assistance, BCDA spent P34.9 billion ($743.87 million) to build SCTEX, which opened in 2008. The 4-lane expressway cuts through Bataan, Pampanga, and Tarlac, and is directly linked to the NLEX, which is also operated by MNTC. – Rappler.com
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