In a remarkable move, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has allotted 99% of its transportation Infrastructure budget for 2020 to the construction, rehabilitation and improvement of railway systems in the Philippines.
The spending plan totals USD 2.9 billion, of which around USD 2.1 billion will be spent on railway projects – an amount that is five times greater than the 2019 allocation for the same purpose.
Railway projects to be undertaken in 2020 include the:
- North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR)
- Metro Manila Subway Project
- Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) Rehabilitation
- Mindanao Railway Project
- Philippine National Railway (PNR) South Long Haul
- Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite Extension
- Subic-Clark Railway.
These projects are part of a plan to expand the country’s railway system, which, from a total length of 77 kilometers (km) in 2016, is set to grow to 1,144 km by 2022. Within the same period, the number of stations across all railway systems is targeted to increase to from 59 to 169, the number of trains from 221 to 1,425, and daily ridership from 1.02 million to 3.26 million.
The Senate Committee on Finance has already approved the budget, which will now be taken up at the plenary. Funding for these projects will come from loan agreements with Japan, China and the Asian Development Bank.
(Sources: BusinessWorld; BusinessMirror)