Feasibility studies for EDSA busway, north rail, Pasig ferry to start in Jan.

THE Transportation department said it hopes to start feasibility studies for the EDSA busway, North Long Haul Inter-Regional Railway (National Capital Region-Ilocos Norte and Cagayan), and the Manila Bay-Pasig River-Laguna Lake Ferry projects in January.

“The feasibility studies will be bid out to international consulting firms,” the Department of Transportation (DoTr) told BusinessWorld on Thursday when asked for an update.

The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, which manages the Project Development and Monitoring Facility or PDMF, which supports feasibility studies for PPP projects, recently approved funding for the studies.

“Estimated budget for the three studies is around P300 million,” the DoTr said.

The consultants are to prepare the pre-feasibility and feasibility studies and propose a PPP project structure, assist in securing all required government approvals, prepare bid documents, assist in the PPP bidding process, and provide post-PPP contract signing assistance and advisory services, the PPP Center said in a separate statement.

The EDSA busway project is expected to enhance the current EDSA Carousel.

“New stations will be developed and existing facilities will be enhanced to be universally accessible, gender responsive, and climate resilient. Capacity, comfort, and reliability of transport services will likewise be upgraded and aligned with international standards,” the DoTr said.

Meanwhile, the North Long Haul Inter-Regional Railway will be built to connect the National Capital Region to the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions. It will be part of the Luzon Railway Network along with the Subic-Clark Railway and the South Long Haul.

“It is envisioned to cater to long-distance passengers and cargoes, which shall then improve access to major economic centers and strengthening supply chains for agricultural products. The project includes the construction of new stations and cargo terminals,” the DoTr said.

The Manila Bay-Pasig River-Laguna Lake Ferry will be designed to be “a high-capacity and high-quality mass transit ferry system.”

The project will benefit commuters, students, and tourists in the capital region, Region III, and Region IV-A, the DoTr said.

“New ferry stations will also be built and existing facilities will be improved with intermodal transfers with other transit systems and active mobility networks,” it added.

The department also noted that the Marcos Administration sees “great potential” in PPPs to strengthen regional logistics networks and make commuting “more comfortable, reliable, and affordable.”

The government has revised the Build-Operate-Transfer Law Implementing Rules and Regulations to attract more private investors and streamline processes. — Arjay L. Balinbin