Tollway firm, state railway company planning to link North and South expressways

BusinessWorld

Posted at Feb 01 2009 10:10 AM | Updated as of Feb 01 2009 06:10 PM

Pangilinan-led tollway operator First Philippine Infrastructure Inc. and state-owned Philippine National Railways (PNR) are set to study the possibility of linking the North and South Luzon expressways by road and rail.

The link will be an integrated rail and tollway project, using the PNR's right of way, which cuts across Metro Manila.

The project is an alternative to various plans to link the two tollways.

The government is planning to build a flyover that will connect C-5 Road to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, so that vehicles from the South Luzon Expressway don't have to deal with traffic on Epifanio de los Santos Avenue to get to the North Luzon Expressway. It will cost P420 million.

Another plan, worth P55 billion, is to extend the Skyway from Parañaque to Balintawak in Quezon City.

First Philippine Infrastructure and the PNR signed the deal "to explore mutually beneficial transportation infrastructure investment opportunities," the former told the stock exchange in a disclosure yesterday.

Under the memorandum of understanding, the two will conduct a pre-feasibility study.

Initial discussions are focused on the development of an 18-kilometer integrated rail and tollway project that will have "at-grade" and elevated roads over the existing PNR line.

"PNR as a pioneer government provider of rail services, intends to pursue related infrastructure projects with the view of expanding the scope of the national integrated transport system," said PNR Vice-Chairman and General Manager Manuel D. Andal.

Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan entered the tollway business last year when his holding firm Metro Pacific Investments Corp. bought First Philippine Infrastructure from the Lopez family for more than P12 billion. This gave Metro Pacific two-thirds of the North Luzon tollway concessionare, Manila North Tollways Corp.

Metro Pacific also has investments in hospitals, real estate, and a water utility.