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SM, Ayala agree to settle common rail hub

The SM Group and Ayala Corp. have agreed to talk and resolve their dispute over the location of the common station for Metro Manila’s overhead train system in Quezon City, a top executive said over the weekend.

“We’re talking, but the government is also helping threshing it out. It’s being threshed out now. Our attitude now is whatever is good to our commuters, to our shoppers, then its okay for us,” SM Investments Corp. chief finance officer Jose Sio said.

Sio said the SM Group was open to the proposal of the government to build two common stations for Light Rail Transit Line 1, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 and MRT 7 as long as “it’s not detrimental” to all parties.

The Transportation Department earlier said it would pursue two common stations, one near SM North Edsa and the other beside Trinoma Mall, owned by Ayala Land.

“If that would be the solution, yes. It should be a win-win solution for the benefit of the public,” Sio said, adding the company already settled a conflict with Ayala over Ortigas family’s OCLP Holdings.

SM Group and Ayala are also part of the consortium called Team Trident along with Megaworld Corp.  bidding for the P123.8-billion Laguna Lakeshore Expressway and Dike Project.

The Transportation Department’s new strategy of building two common stations aims to resolve a conflict with the SM Group.

SM Prime earlier secured a Supreme Court stay order, barring the department from transferring the location of the common station to Trinoma Mall.

The Transportation Department decided to relocate the common station to Trinoma from SM North, citing P1 billion worth of savings the government would realize from the transfer.

Under an earlier agreement between SM Prime and state-run Light Rail Transit Authority, the common station should be situated beside SM North Edsa. SM Prime already paid the government P200 million for the naming rights for the proposed station. 

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. chairman Manuel Pangilinan earlier said the best solution to resolve the issue on common station was to build it somewhere between SM North Edsa and Trinoma shopping mall.

Pangilinan said the two common stations for MRT Line 3, LRT Line 1 and the proposed MRT Line 7 would be inefficient.

MPIC and Ayala Corp. lead the Light Rail Manila Consortium, which won the contract for the LRT 1 Cavite extension project, which includes designing the common station near Trinoma.

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