Cebu monorail feasibility study nears completion
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - February 24, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Philtram Transportation Consortium Inc., is set to submit its unsolicited proposal on the Cebu monorail project to the Department of Transportation next month.

Sought for an update on the proposed project yesterday, Cerwin Eviota, the firm’s public relations officer, said the feasibility study, done by French-run Systra Philippines, is expected to be completed next month.

"The FS should have been done now. But we needed to expand the coverage to the heart of Consolacion following an adjustment in the alignment (of the project). This will be completed next month. By then we will submit Philtram's unsolicited proposal to DOTr," Eviota told The FREEMAN.

"(We will) submit soon, of course with complete documents and meet the pre-requisites. And that's what we are doing with due diligence. No short cut," he said.

Initially, the 16.5-kilometer monorail is being eyed to start at Citta Di Mare at the South Road Properties, then to SM Seaside City, to Mambaling Access Road, to Natalio Bacalso Avenue, to Katipunan area, to P. del Rosario Street, to Zapatera, to Robinsons Galleria, to SM City Cebu, to Mandaue City, to Parkmall, to San Miguel area, to Maguikay, to Pacific Mall.

Eviota said the Cebu monorail's funders, which he declined to disclose yet, are ready to finance, with project cost pegged at roughly P50 billion or $1 billion.

The funding, he said, will be channeled to a government financial institution, likely Development Bank of the Philippines that will formally syndicate the funds.

"This will be fully funded by private sources, and pursued through the PPP (public-private partnership) scheme called BGTOM or Build, Gradual Transfer, Operate and Maintain. Government will cover the cost of civil works in about 30 years after construction when operations will have begun," Eviota explained.

Once the company gets approval after submission of unsolicited proposal, he said the project's detailed engineering and design, to be undertaken by China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) subsidiary China Railway Engineering Consulting Group (CEC), will then follow.

"That will take six to nine months," he said, noting the project can then start by the end of this year or first quarter of 2019.

If everything goes according to plan, he said Cebuanos will start to enjoy the mass transport system by 2021 as it will only take two years for the project's civil works, installation of signaling system, and the test runs for the rolling stocks, among others.

He said PhilTram is creating a holding firm with 40 percent foreign equity and 60 percent Filipino that will pursue all monorail projects in the Philippines.

"We will disclose the Philippine counterpart investors when the deal is sealed. Philtram will hold between 10 percent to 20 percent of this holding company," he noted.

This holding company will forge consortium agreements with partners who will comprise the special-purpose company (SPC) for Metro Cebu Monorail, Eviota said.

A monorail is a railway system in which the track consists of a single rail, typically elevated and with the trains suspended from it. The term is also used to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track. Many monorails run on elevated tracks through crowded areas that would otherwise require the construction of expensive underground lines or have the disadvantages of surface lines.

In May last year, the Cebu City government had signed a memorandum of understanding with the firm for the conduct of a business case study for the monorail system here.

Under the MOU, the business case study will involve analyses of present or future trip generation/distribution; probable alignments; ridership levels and fares; preliminary design; related cost estimates; project viability assessment; and formulation of implementation plans; and project financing, among others.


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