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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Gov't awards LRT1 Cavite Extension project to Ayala-Metro Pacific group

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has awarded the LRT1 Cavite Extension Project to the joint venture of the Ayala and Metro Pacific groups.

In a text message, DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said the Light Rail Manila Consortium "has 20 days to comply with post-award requirements, after which the concession agreement can be signed by both parties."

Sagcal didn't provide details, especially pertaining to how the agency sidestepped a stay order that the Supreme Court issued at the behest of SM Prime Holdings Inc.

Light Rail Manila is the joint venture between AC Infrastructure Holdings and Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) that was the lone bidder for the P64.9 billion project, which is one of the public-private partnership (PPP) ventures of the Aquino administration.

The consortium, which offered a P9.35 billion premium over the contract price, had bagged the endorsement of the boards of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and of the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA).

SM Prime however had thrown a monkey wrench into the project, after it secured a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court, which halted the award based on the Henry Sy-led mall developer's claim that the project would violate a 2008 contract with state-run LRTA.

Under the said contract, SM Prime paid LRTA P200 million for the right to name the common station for the LRT1 and MRT3, and to locate the facility near the SM City North Edsa mall.

The design of the common station was tucked into the LRT1 Cavite Extension Project, which also provided that the location be moved near the Trinoma mall of Ayala Land Inc. DOTC had said its decision to move the location would save the government billions in pesos.

Before today's announcement of the award, DOTC had sought the legal opinion of the Office of the Solicitor General and was looking at a loophole in the High Tribunal's stay order to expedite the project.

The southbound extension of LRT1 would increase the train’s span from 20.7 kilometers to 32.4, with approximately 10.5 kilometers of the extension elevated and 1.2 kilometers at grade.

More than 500,000 commuters everyday use LRT1, which runs from Baclaran in Pasay City to Roosevelt in Quezon City. The southern part of Metro Manila and neighboring Cavite province is home to nearly 4 million people.

- Interaksyon

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