Letters to the Editor

Proposals to reduce traffic

The Philippine Star

The Lilac Center for Public Interest, a policy research and advocacy organization, is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to take a look and favorably consider the Integrated Pasig River Viaduct Elevated Highway and Personal Rapid System as an ultimate solution to Metro Manila’s worsening traffic congestion.

The President’s directive in his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and concerned officials “to undertake immediate action to ensure the speedy and smooth flow of vehicular traffic”, one of which is “to reclaim all public roads being used for private ends”, should not only be heeded, but also improved upon through out-of-the-box solutions and an investment of tremendous political will.

“One of the President’s avowed goals is to reduce travel time along EDSA from Cubao to Makati in five minutes. Is this possible? Yes, but only if he will exercise his famed political will and prioritize infrastructure projects to unburden and relieve EDSA,” Lilac Center, said.

In his first SONA in 2016, President Duterte said that due to lack of road infrastructure, there is a need to maximize the use of existing roads as well as build secondary routes.

The President should direct the DPWH, DOTC, and NEDA to fast-track their action on an unsolicited proposal of the private sector for the realization of the Integrated Pasig River Viaduct Elevated Highway and Personal Rapid System which consists of a four-lane elevated highway or viaduct, a Pneumatic-Wheeled Tranvia (PWT) and Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) traversing the Pasig and Marikina rivers.

The Integrated Pasig River Viaduct Elevated Highway and Personal Rapid System, proposed by Armando Khong Hun General Contractor Inc. (AUKH), was conceived to mitigate and relieve the worsening traffic condition in the metropolis which President Duterte admitted in his SONA was estimated to cause economic losses of P3.5 billion per day.

These losses are expected to pile up to P6 billion per day in 2030, citing the well-referenced 2012 study of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), an amount that the government could very well use to build  3,680 classrooms or 215 kilometers of farm-to-market roads.

The AUKH has said the Integrated Pasig River Viaduct Elevated Highway and Personal Rapid System, once completed, will reduce vehicular traffic along EDSA by 39 percent. It said it proposes to construct a viaduct that will run through the lengths of both the Pasig and Marikina Rivers, both being the only open space available in Metro Manila,  that will sustain both a vehicular freeway, a gondola-type people mover, and an elevated railway system. It also said the project will not entail any right-of-way costs, the rivers being public patrimony.

The Lilac Center lauded DPWH Secretary Mark Villar for assuring the public that the completion of some infrastructure projects across the metropolis this year, such as the C5 South Link, Skyway Stage 3, and Harbor Link extension, will ultimately help reduce vehicle volume along the 24-kilometer EDSA artery.

However, these may not be enough.

Opening up the 41.6-kilometer integrated transport system (Pasig River, 22.36 km.) and Marikina River (19.24 km.) would be the ultimate economic solution to Metro Manila’s perennial traffic woes, he said.

The AUKH submitted its proposal, a public-private partnership (PPP) project, complete with a pre-feasibility study and preliminary designs to the DPHW in 2017, but the department said the project is still being studied to align it to related projects of the DPWH along the Pasig River. It referred the proponent to the DOTC where the proposal is now at.

Meanwhile, the AUKH has been in discussion with interested foreign investors who see the viability of the unique infrastructure project as a boost to Metro Manila’s drive as a modern megapolis. – NICON F. FAMERONAG, president, Lilac Center for Public Interest


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