MANILA - The Department of Transportation (DoTr) is asking Congress for a P1.15-trillion budget to implement projects that are meant to address the transport crisis in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.
The project menu submitted to the Senate shows that the DoTr's list is clustered into four sectors: road, maritime, aviation, and rail.
Ninety-three percent of the DoTr's wishlist or about P1.07 trillion is earmarked for the improvement of railways systems in Metro Manila, Cavite and Bulacan, including the Philippine National Railways (PNR) South and North Lines, as well as the construction of railways in Cebu and Mindanao.
The 14-kilometer Metro Manila Line 5 that will stretch from the Taguig and Makati business districts to the Manila and Pasay reclamation area is the most expensive item on the list at P219 billion.
The construction of Line 6 from Cavite to Dasmarinas will cost P68 billion, while the building of Line 7 from Quezon City to Bulacan will cost P95 billion.
The PNR will receive P107 billion for its North line to Malolos, Bulacan and another P150 billion for its South line to Biñan, Laguna. A 55-kilometer track extending the North line to Clark will cost an additional P99 billion.
Another P79 billion is earmarked for the construction of the 20-kilometer Mindanao Rail, while P98 billion is allocated to put up the 25-kilometer Cebu railway.
The DoTr's plan to build Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems in Metro Manila will cost the government at least P39.4 billion for the 48.6-kilometer loop around EDSA, Ayala Avenue, NAIA, Ortigas, and Bonifacio Global City, and another P4.8 billion for the BRT line that will stretch from Manila City Hall to Quezon City Hall.
The construction of integrated terminals in Parañaque and in Taguig will cost P5.4 billion.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport will get a share of P10.9 billion for the construction of a third runway and the relocation of informal settlers on its 96-hectare property.
Another P4.4 billion is allotted for the repair and upgrade of night-flying capability of several airports including those in Roxas, Dipolog, Ozamis, Tuguegarao, Cauayan, Pagadian, Catarman, Masbate, Calbayog, Dumaguete and Naga.
Also earmarked are P814.5 million worth of projects for Clark International Airport and P635.5 million for the modernization of the Subic Bay airport.
The DoTr's proposal to revive the Pasig River ferry system amounts to P2.9 billion as the government will have to procure passenger boats, repair ferry terminals, and dredge portions of the 15-kilometer ferry route.
The DOTr is also seeking another P3.3 billion to set up and operate a single traffic authority.
The agency also estimated that P1.9 billion is needed to solve the shortage and regularize the supply of vehicle license plates and driver's license cards.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said that the hefty price tag of the DoTr wish list might still increase as other projects of the department "are still without price tags."
Recto also pointed out that the grant of emergency powers to solve the traffic crisis "can never include the power to appropriate funds."
"What it only allows is the fast procurement of projects for which funds have been appropriated," he said.
But the senator clarified that not all undertakings will be funded by the government as some "will be built under a public-private partnership scheme."