Makati signs joint venture for USD3.5-B subway project
The Makati City government on Tuesday signed a joint venture agreement (JVA) with Philippine Infradev Holdings Inc. (Infradev) for an intra-city subway project in Makati City dubbed ‘MkTr’ with an estimated cost of USD3.5 billion.
Moments before the signing of the JVA, Makati City Mayor Mar-len Abigail “Abby” Binay assured the realization of the project in a message at the Makati City Hall.
“We will seal the deal that the subway will really be a reality. Hindi po ito drawing, hindi po ito pangako. Magkakatotoo na ang unang-unang subway sa Pilipinas (This is not something we would renege on, this is not just a promise. The first subway in the Philippines will be a reality),” Binay said.
By 2025 or late 2024, the project will be in operation.
“So, 2025 is not the completion of the project but the operation. So dapat by 2025 tumatakbo na siya (So, by 2025 it should be running). It is a very conservative estimate in terms of completion. Sabi nila kaya (They said it could be done by) late 2024,” Binay said.
Aside from addressing the traffic situation in Makati, the project will have 10 stations that will connect key points around the business district.
“10-10-10 nga eh. Kasi (It’s 10-10-10. Because) 10 stations, 10 kilometers, 10 minutes. So, from one end to another, the trip should only take you 10 minutes,” Binay said.
Groundworks in preparation for the arrival of a tunnel boring machine this December will begin within the next few months, Tiu said.
Infradev president and chief executive officer Antonio Lee Tiu dubbed the project as the largest Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project ever undertaken by a local government unit (LGU).
“This is the first time that a local government has undertaken this large-scale PPP project. This is the biggest PPP project to-date and this is one of the biggest foreign investment projects to date,” Tiu said.
With a total projected cost of USD3.5 billion, Tiu said the actual cost may be lower using technology from its Chinese partner.
“USD3.5 billion is the projected cost to complete the whole line. Of course, subject to revalidation. Right now, there are signs that we can generate some savings out of using the Chinese technology,” Tiu said.
The city government will have a hand on running the subway from its construction to its operation.
“This is a joint venture agreement; this is not a build-operate transfer so the city will always be a part of this project,” Binay said.
The mayor said it was too early to speculate on how much the fare would cost as it would depend on the country’s inflation rate and cost of electricity in 2025, but Tiu added it would be about the same as the MRT-3 fare.
Earthquakes and fault lines in the area have been taken into consideration by a feasibility study on the project and is an engineering concern that will be addressed by its construction team.
The MkTr will have up to 10 air-conditioned, underground stations which can accommodate up to six car trains, with room for over 200 persons per car.
More than 700,000 passengers per day could be accommodated by the mass transport system.
A major consideration of the project’s feasibility study was its potential interconnectivity with the national government’s planned rail projects under the “Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program.
“If you study the 10 stations of the subway, it starts with Edsa where all the people that go into the city gets off. So, we also take into consideration the possibility of the national government building a railway system that connects with the airport,” Binay said.
More pedestrians, less cars
Another milestone the project seeks to achieve is to encourage more pedestrians through lack of necessity for private motorized transport.
“Sa Makati it’s one step further. Not just getting back the streets for cars but allowing people to walk dito sa Makati. Gusto natin na eventually dadating ang panahon na magkakaroon ng car-less day or car-less week. Or lalakihan natin yung mga pedestrian (lanes) natin or even our bike lanes. So kailangan muna may mass transportation system ka bago mo magawa lahat yun (What we want is to eventually have a car-less day or a car-less week. We could expand pedestrian lanes or even our bike lanes. So, what we need is mass transportation before we could achieve all of that),” Binay said.
Jobs for Makatizens
The Makati city mayor meanwhile said around 10,000 jobs will be created by the project from its construction down to its operation in 2025.
She added that a majority of the jobs will be reserved for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and able-bodied senior citizens.