Top business groups urge speedy completion of common rail station

MANILA, Philippines - Leading business groups in the country have jointly called for the speedy execution of the common train station project that would link the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Lines 3 and 7. By conveniently serving some 1.5 million commuters, the common station is seen to “finally close the missing link” between the heavily used MRT-3 and LRT-1 as well as incorporate them with the recently approved MRT-7, the groups said. “We fully support the MOA (memorandum of agreement) executed among the train operators of LRT-1, MRT-3 and MRT-7 and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) agreeing to the intersection of EDSA and North Avenue in Quezon City as the location of the common train station,” they said in a statement. The business groups include Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines. The rest consists of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc., Semiconductors and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. and the  business chambers of Australia, new Zealand, Japan, Canada and Korea in the Philippines. “The agreement is most laudable as it represents an important breakthrough of the almost decade-long impasse in the construction of a vital mass transportation hub in Metro Manila and coming so soon after the Duterte administration took over,” the joint statement said. The groups also said they agree the grand common station be undertaken by the government through the DOTr, except for the respective areas assigned to the private stakeholders and concessionaires. “The government, by undertaking the common station and underwriting its cost, would facilitate the implementation of this long delayed project. By doing so, it would be a judicious investment of taxpayer funds on a vital mass transportation facility to serve train commuters,” the groups said. The current common station design envisions a much larger and more spacious station with a total floor area of 13,700 square meters compared to 7,200 sqm in the original 2009 plan. It will accommodate three train lines, including the MRT-7 whose construction is ongoing, compared to just two lines in the original plan. The hub is seen serving the common benefit of the over a million daily commuters in the three train lines as transfer from one line to another will become convenient. “Going forward, we trust the project will be undertaken with transparency and adherence to required bidding rules and procedures to secure the most qualified contractor and best possible cost,” the business groups said. “We recommend the use of faster and less traffic-disruptive construction method, such as pre-cast concrete sections for the viaduct as used in similar projects abroad. Now that all stakeholders from the public and private sectors have agreed on a solution, all remaining hindrances must be quickly set aside to clear the way for its speedy execution,” they added. ---------- Posted on 19 March 2017 under the Business Section of The Philippine Star