NEDA approves high-speed train line from Bulacan to Calamba

After the National Economic and Development Authority Board meeting on Monday, six major infrastructure projects were approved. Among the six projects are North-South Commuter Railway – Phase 1 and North-South Railway Project – South Line phase. NEDA Board is chaired by President Aquino.

Phase 1 involves the construction of a 36.7-kilometer narrow-gauge elevated commuter railway from Malolos to Tutuban. It aims to improve efficiency of land transportation capacity of Metro Manila and provide a more environmentally sustainable mode of transport.

Phase 1 will be handled by the government with funding from Japan International Cooperation Agency through official development assistance loan. The project’s total estimated cost is PhP117.30 billion and targeted to be implemented from 2015 with a 35-year operation period starting 2020, NEDA said.

The South Line phase will be through Public-Private Partnership project under DOTC. This project consists of commuter railway operations between Tutuban and Calamba, Laguna. It also includes a long haul railway operation between Tutuban and Legaspi, Albay and on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and an extension between Legaspi and Matnog.

“It will be high-speed, it will not be a bullet train, but will be a high-speed electric train,” NEDA Deputy Director General Rolando G. Tungpalan said previously.

DOTC aims to use the line not only for mass transport but also for cargoes. “Once the rails are steady enough to accommodate freight, cargo containers can pass through the rails instead of the roads. Cargo movers will only have to pay for rail usage,” Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.