MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government on Wednesday, July 15, commenced the bidding for the most expensive public-private partnership (PPP) deal so far: P170.7-billion ($3.78-billion) South Line of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP).
The transportation department and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) started inviting prospective bidders to participate in the auction of the South Line of NSRP through publishing a notice in several newspapers on Wednesday.
The railway PPP deal will involve commuter lines connecting Tutuban to the southern peripheries of Metro Manila and a long-haul network to the Bicol provinces. The South Line will also include an initial terminus in Legazpi City and a branch line eventually connecting Matnog in Sorsogon.
“This is our biggest project yet: the revival of the oldest rail system in Southeast Asia, beginning with the Manila-Legazpi section plus additional branch lines totaling 653 kilometers,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in a statement.
“Rail systems are a driver for inclusive socio-economic growth. They encourage trade and business activity, and provide access to employment and educational opportunities. The PNR, once a symbol of the country’s economic progress, should be modernized into a safe, convenient, and efficient system by 2020,” he added.
Under the project’s terms, the winning bidder will take charge of designing, constructing, financing, operating, and maintaining the following services:
- The 56-kilometer Commuter Rail service, for daily riders on the Tutuban, Manila to Calamba, Laguna route
- The 478-kilometer Long-Haul Rail service, for travelers on the Tutuban, Manila to Legazpi, Albay route
The North-South Railway may also have the following extensions:
- 58 kilometers from Calamba, Laguna to Batangas City, Batangas
- 117 kilometers from Legazpi, Albay to Matnog, Sorsogon
“This project will impact directly on a grassroots level. Those who have less in life, especially farmers and fisherfolk, will be given efficient means to expand their livelihood. This is our biggest project yet, and this is for those who need it most,” Abaya said.
Once the entire railway is operational in 2020, there will be 10 daily trips with 7 train sets passing through 66 stations.
It is expected to yield a demand of 316,000 passengers daily on its opening year, and is projected to entice around 44,000 public and private vehicle users to shift their commutes to the modernized railway.
Local and international companies are encouraged to participate in the auction.
A two-stage bidding process will be adopted, with the pre-qualification date targeted within the fourth quarter of 2015.
Opening of bids is targeted in January 2016, while awarding is set in March 2016, the Transportation department said.
The winning bidder will operate, maintain, and upgrade the South Line for 34 years, including the construction period of 4 years. — Rappler.com