MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Monday defended its decision to build the proposed common station for the Metro Rail Transit 3 and Light Rail Transit 1 near Ayala's Trinoma Mall, instead of SM City North EDSA.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said building the common MRT-LRT station would mean significant savings for the government.
"(There will be) P1 billion savings in Trinoma. It's a big justification," he said.
The common station would interconnect LRT-1, which runs from Baclaran to Monumento, MRT-3 from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City and the proposed MRT-7 that would run from Caloocan City and go through Lagro and Fairview, Novaliches, Batasan, Diliman and Philcoa before ending at EDSA.
The DOTC is planning to bid out the P1.4 billion project within the second quarter of the year.
"We intend to bid out the project in another three to four months and will take one year to construct. Hopefully, it will be finished within the term of the President," he said.
He said the government is reviewing where the "turn-back" system would be constructed. This is the area where the trains would maneuver and change directions.
The DOTC had earlier chosen SM North EDSA as the site of the proposed common station. The SM group had even paid P200 million to the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) for the naming rights of the common station.
Earlier, Abaya said SM would be able to keep the naming rights for the station, even if it is transferred near rival Ayala's Trinoma mall.