A SOUND INVESTMENT. More funding has found its way to Rodrigo Duterte’s infrastructure program.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has OK’d up to $2.75 billion in financing for the building of 53.1 kilometers (km) of a passenger railway. The line will be connecting Malolos, Bulacan and the Clark economic zone and Clark International Airport.What will be known as the Malolos–Clark railway is an integral section of the North–South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project. The project is one of the premier offerings of the administration’s famed “Build, Build, Build” program. It will be railway network 163 kilometers in length, from New Clark City in Tarlac to Calamba, Laguna. The NSCR project is due for completion in 2025.
About 342,000 passengers are expected to be served by the Malolos–Clark Railway. This line aims to provide a modern, safe, and economical mode of public transport, for this leg of the rail network, as well for the entire NSCR.
Efficiency is key
Travel time between Manila and Clark International Airport is expected to be be cut down to under an hour on this line. Currently, road travel is easily three hours. The improvement in travel efficiency will result in billions of savings for local economies. This is expected to thrust the Manila-Clark corridor to the top of the country’s list of high-value contributors.
The government is also hoping that the Malolos–Clark Railway Project will help in decongesting Metro Manila. It is also part of their development plan that aggressively promotes economic growth outside the capital region. New Clark City in Pampanga is being primed as the next big metropolis in the country. Apart from the high-speed railway, it will feature an international airport. The city will also contain a satellite government, a world-class sports village, and other modern amenities.
A reliable partner in nation-building
“ADB’s partnership with the Philippines has always been strong, and it has become stronger in the last three years,” according to ADB’s Takehiko Nakao.
“The government’s Build, Build, Build (BBB) program is clearly steering the much-needed acceleration in infrastructure spending, from less than 2% of gross domestic product a decade ago to 6.3% now, well on track to achieve the 7% target by 2022. One of the key flagship projects of the BBB program is the Malolos–Clark railway.”
“It will be ADB’s single largest infrastructure project financing ever, and from a development perspective, we are pleased this investment is taking place in ADB’s host country. The project, combined with other investments in light rail transit, metro rail transit, and subway systems, will bring back the culture of rail transport in Metro Manila,” added Mr. Nakao.
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