MetroPac offers P12-b MRT3 rehab
Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said Wednesday it is ready to present to the Transportation Department this week a P12-billion offer to rehabilitate and upgrade the glitch-prone Mass Rail Transit Line 3.
Metro Pacific president Jose Ma. K. Lim said the company would send a team to the Transportation Department to initially discuss and present the technical aspects of the proposal.
Lim said under the new proposal, Metro Pacific planned to initially invest P12 billion to rehabilitate and improve the service of MRT3, or double the P6 billion the company originally proposed.
Lim said the Transportation Department was expected to review the proposal.
Metro Pacific chairman Manuel Pangilinan described the new offer as a “better proposal” compared with the previous one.
“This is a much better proposal because it means more money for the government,” Pangilinan said.
“It will also be good for them [the government] to pass the hat to us, so that we will get the blame,” Pangilinan said.
The proposed takeover of MRT3 operations could entail fare adjustment as the company tries to improve passenger experience.
Pangilinan said aside from Ayala Corp., Metro Pacific also invited Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte Ltd. to join the company in the proposed rehabilitation of MRT3.
Ayala Corp. and Macquarie Infrastructure are Metro Pacific’s joint venture partners in Light Rail Manila Corp., which is the operator of Light Rail Transit Line 1 and its Cavite extension project.
“We have extended invitation to the Ayala group and Macquarie along the same holding percentages in LRMC, which 55 percent for us 35 [percent] for Ayala and 10 [percent] for Macquarie,” Pangilinan said.
Metro Pacific first submitted a proposal to the Transportation Department in 2011, offering $523-million investments to rehabilitate and upgrade MRT3. The Aquino administration rejected Metro Pacific’s proposal and opted for an equity value buyout of MRT3.
The Transportation Department decided to pursue the buyout, but Congress did not approve the P53.9-billion allocation in the 2015 budget for the government’s takeover of MRT3.
MRT 3, which runs along Edsa from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, serves over 500,000 passengers a day, or beyond its rated capacity of 350,000.
The railways system has been experiencing glitches caused by old trains and railways as well as problems in the signaling system.