Poe grills DOTC officials over MRT7, LRT-MRT common station
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe, a presidential aspirant, grilled the country's transportation officials on Monday, November 9, over the status of the proposed Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT7).
The project, which costs P63 billion ($1.93 billion), involves a proposed 22.8-kilometer rail system from North Avenue corner EDSA in Quezon City, passing through Commonwealth Avenue, Regalado Avenue, and Quirino Highway and up to the proposed Intermodal Transportation Terminal in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.
San Miguel Corporation (SMC), headed by businessman Ramon S. Ang, bagged the MRT7 project.
At the resumption of the Senate public hearing on MRT3 woes, Poe said: "President Aquino's term is about to end. He has delivered his final SONA (State of the Nation Address). With the appalling state of public transportation, MRT7 would have helped ease the burden of commuters."
What about the common station?
Along with the construction of MRT7 is the proposed common station intended to interconnect MRT7 with LRT Line 1 and MRT Line 3 will be built.
Poe asked transportation officials at the hearing why the construction of the MRT3 and LRT1 common station has not yet started.
Transportation officials said the final location for the common station has yet to be determined, citing dispute with stakeholders.
In April, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya gave assurances that that an agreement between SMC and the Light Rail Manila Consortium (LRMC) for the proposed second common station in front of SM North EDSA will soon be signed.
But as part of the concession agreement for the P65-billion ($1.46-billion) LRT1 Cavite extension project to be undertaken by Light Rail Manila Consortium, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) transferred the proposed P1.4 billion ($31.39 million) common station to the TriNoma Mall instead of the originally proposed location of SM North EDSA.
SM protested, insisting that the common station should be constructed in front of SM North EDSA, not TriNoma. SM said the DOTC should respect the contract stating that the common train station should be in front of its mall along North EDSA. (READ: SM Prime: Put LRT-MRT station in front of SM North)
The dispute between SM and DOTC over the common station is affecting the financial closure for the MRT7 project, said San Miguel Holdings Corporation Chief Financial Officer Raoul Eduardo Romulo in May. (READ: San Miguel pushes for speedy resolution of common station deadlock)
SMC has been given until February 2016 to complete the financial closure for the massive infrastructure project, Romulo earlier said.
"We're debating on where the common station will be located while commuters are suffering. I think whatever the technical issues are, they will pale in comparison to what commuters have to go through every day," Poe said. – Rappler.com
$1 = P47.14