San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SMHC) and the Pangasinan provincial government signed Thursday the joint venture and tollway concession agreements for the Pangasinan Link Expressway project phase one costing PHP34 billion.
In his speech, Pangasinan Governor Ramon Guico III said the 42.76-kilometer expressway project, which will connect the province’s eastern and western parts, is a “game changer”.
“It will reinvent the transportation and enrich tourism landscape, prioritize accessibility of citizens to major towns and cities, magnify business and livelihood opportunities, multiply economic activities, build more infrastructures, facilitate province-wide travel, and protect our environmental resources in Pangasinan,” he said.
Once completed within the targeted four-year construction period, the first phase of the expressway is expected to shorten travel time from Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway exit in Binalonan town to Lingayen from 90 minutes to just half an hour or less, he said.
The first phase covers 6.9 kms from Binalonan to Manaoag, 11.30 kms from Manaoag to Calasiao and 22.17 kms from Calasiao to Lingayen, with a 2.39-km spur road in Calasiao.
Under the agreement, the province will be entitled to a 5 percent share in the toll revenue and commercial development revenues from the start of the concession period.
The provincial government is also entitled to the 30 percent of the earnings before taxes after the proponent has exceeded a project internal rate of return (PIRR) of 10 percent.
If the PIRR exceeds 12 percent, the province will have a 70 percent share in earnings before tax.
The SMHC submitted its unsolicited proposal to the joint venture selection committee in May this year.
In a press conference, San Miguel Corporation president and chief executive officer Ramon Ang said the design and plan for the expressway’s construction will begin once they have secured the right of way with the help of the provincial government.
“(The) project is worth PHP34 billion at no cost to the government, no government subsidy or guarantee,” he said.
“Kung ano pa pwedeng gawin dito sa Pangasinan, you have my word (na) gagawin ko lahat to support Pangasinan (Whatever needs to be done here in Pangasinan, you have my word that I will do everything to support Pangasinan),” he added.
Meanwhile, Department of Tourism Ilocos regional director Joseph Francisco Ortega said the road project is expected to attract more tourists to visit Pangasinan.
“The tourism industry in the province is ready for the influx of tourists,” he added.