DOTC eyes ‘mini’ LRT-MRT common station to appease SM group
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is looking at putting up a “mini” common station for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in front of the SM City North EDSA mall to appease SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) of retail and banking magnate Henry Sy.
This comes after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the government from building a P1.4-billion ($32.03 million*) LRT-MRT common station in front of Ayala Land-owned Trinoma mall. SMPHI insists the common station should be located in front of its North EDSA mall as part of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) it signed with the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) in September 2009. (READ: Why SM is after the MRT-LRT common station)
In its decision issuing a TRO, the Supreme Court said the DOTC and the LRTA violated the MOA with SMPHI.
SMPHI paid the LRTA P200 million ($4.59 million) under the MOA for the naming rights to the common station. The MOA states that station will be located in front of SM North EDSA.
The mini station would be a “win-win” for all, DOTC Secretary Joseph Abaya said.
“I think that might be the win-win solution. We are looking at putting up a mini station at SM City North EDSA housing LRT 1 and MRT 7,” Abaya said.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency is conducting a study to make sure that the traffic of the 3 mass transit systems – LRT 1, MRT 3, and MRT 7 – would not be affected by the proposed mini station in front of SM, Abaya said.
The mini station in front of SM will serve LRT 1 as well as MRT 7 of diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation, while the common station in front of Trinoma will serve LRT 1 and MRT 3.
“One will be smaller. What is important there is it doesn't affect operations,” Abaya said.
Common station issue delaying LRT 1 Cavite extension project
The DOTC is carefully studying the impact of the TRO issued by the Supreme Court.
The agency has appealed to SMPHI to withdraw the case it filed, saying it is delaying the award of the P65-billion ($1.49 billion) LRT 1 Cavite extension project to the Light Rail Manila Consortium of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and Ayala Corporation. The common station was packaged into the LRT 1 Cavite extension project. Light Rail Manila offered P9.35 billion ($214.38 million) to undertake the public-private partnership.
“The quickest solution is if they can pull out their petition, their complaint. We are looking for a win-win solution wherein everyone's advocacy will be integrated, accommodated. That would be the ideal quick solution,” Abaya said.
“Technically, we proceed with a Trinoma common station where it houses LRT 1 and MRT 3 and keep the concession agreement so we can award without any change in the terms. It doesn't stop the concessionaire and the government from building an additional station,” the DOTC chief said. – Rappler.com
*($1 = P43.57)
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