Clark line to form part of $6-B railway project

January 5, 2015 at 10:26

By Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 27, 2014 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is looking at incorporating the spur railway proposed by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to the Clark freeport and special economic zone into the ambitious $6-billion Integrated Luzon Railway project (ILRP).

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the proposed spur railway that would connect Clark to Metro Manila could be incorporated into the extension and revival of the operations of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) from North to South.

“BCDA came in, saying DOTC, can you allow us to plan this out because we are developing Green City in Clark. If we could tap rail into the Clark Green City, then it becomes viable. We said, sure why not and that in essence is our partnership,” Abaya said.

The ILRP would run from Cagayan Valley to Sorsogon in Bicol, covering the north network of PNR – from Manila to La Union as well as the branch line from Tarlac to San Jose, Nueva Ecija, and a possible extension to Cagayan – and the south network – from Manila to Legaspi City, including the branch line from Calamba to Batangas City.

Abaya said the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is helping out in the feasibility study to determine if the project could be placed under the government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) program.

“There is no overlap in segments. The Tutuban to Legaspi City line is under PPP while the Tutuban to Malolos is to be funded through official development assistance funds. Our thing with BCDA is from Malolos going north but there is no discussion yet whether it would be under PPP or ODA,” he added.

“Clark is 100 kilometers away. If it travels at 150kph, so you get there in 40 minutes. You don’t need a bullet train to get there,” he said.Likewise, he pointed out that the proposed railway could ferry passengers to Clark in 40 minutes with trains running at about 150 kilometers per hour (kph).

BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova earlier announced plans to put up a 30-km railway that would connect the former US military base in Pampanga to Malolos in Bulacan as part of the Clark Green City master plan.

The Clark Green City master plan has also a railway terminal that will link to Metro Manila and other cities. Under the plan, BCDA intends to develop1,321 hectares for an industrial, commercial, government offices and educational hub and at the same time transform 3,600 hectares into an agricultural zone.

Casanova said the proposed Clark Green City would generate close to one million jobs and contribute approximately P1.57 trillion to the economy.


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