MANILA – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is standing firm on constructing a “common station” for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) near Ayala’s Trinoma mall instead of SM North EDSA.
The SM Group is opposing the chosen location of the DOTC, saying it has a valid agreement with government that the proposed station will be built near its mall and not Ayala’s.
However, Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya maintained his earlier position that the station should be built in Trinoma.
“It is clear in the contract and our view is still the same that it should be in Trinoma,” Abaya said.
Abaya said there is still a possibility that a “mini station” will be constructed in front of SM North EDSA for users of the LRT-1 and the proposed MRT-7 to appease the Sy-led firm.
“One of the possible win-win solution is to put up a small station in front of SM City North EDSA. That should be welcomed by our people because it adds another station,” Abaya said.
Sy’s SM Prime Holdings Inc. has managed to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court preventing government from transferring the location of the proposed station.
The design of the common station is part of the P65 billion LRT-1 Cavite extension contract, which has yet to be awarded to the project’s lone bidder, Ayala and the Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s Light Rail Manila Consortium.
Abaya said the DOTC is now studying the possibility of awarding the contract provided that the location of the common station is subject to the decision of the high tribunal.
“We could award LRT-1 because it is clear what is being restrained is moving the common station. We could even award with the condition that the eventual common station would subject to the Supreme Court,” he said.
SM has opposed the transfer on the basis of a memorandum of understanding signed with the LRTA in 2009.
The DOTC, however, argued that the agreement has lapsed and that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has already approved the construction of the proposed station in Trinoma.