DOTC mulls 2 train stations to make SM happy
MANILA – The legal battle between the government and SM Prime Holdings Inc. may result in the construction of 2 common train stations near SM North EDSA and Ayala Land's Trinoma mall.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said it is now considering the possibility of building 2 common stations to appease the Sy-led SM Prime, which obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court to stop the transfer of the proposed common station to Trinoma.
SM Prime sued DOTC to oppose the transfer of the station, claiming it has a valid agreement with government that identifies SM North EDSA as the chosen location for the station.
Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya said building 2 common stations is the best option for the government to finally proceed with the implementation of the project and to award the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) Cavite extension project to the tandem of Ayala and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
“The best option is to proceed with Trinoma common station, where it will house LRT-1 and MRT-3. This means that the concession agreement remains intact and we could award (the LRT-1 extension) without any change in their term,” Abaya said.
“The concession agreement also doesn't stop the concessionaire and government from building a mini common station that will house LRT-1 and MRT-7. That I think is the win-win solution,” he added.
Abaya believes that building a separate mini station is a “win-win solution” for all parties concerned, adding that he has yet to discuss the proposal with SM Prime.
“Clearly, the quick solution for SM is to pull out their complaint while we are looking for a win-win solution that everybody’s interests and advocacies will be accommodated,” Abaya said.
However, the transportation secretary has yet to determine who will finance the second common station.
SM's legal counsel Ryan San Juan said the company cannot comment on DOTC's statements as it has "not received nor are aware of any such suggestion from the DOTC."
The DOTC earlier defended its decision to transfer the common station near Trinoma, saying it can generate savings of up to P1 billion.
Abaya said the agency is still studying if it can push through with the awarding of the P64.9 billion LRT-1 Cavite extension project to the Ayala-MPIC consortium despite the TRO on the common station transfer.
MPIC president Joey Lim, meanwhile, said the proposal for two common stations "might be feasible" if the two stations are connected by an elevated walkway.
DOTC is planning to complete the proposed common station by the third quarter of 2015.