Cebu News

Talks with government done: 3rd bridge cost reaches P27B

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The estimated total project cost in the construction, development, operation and maintenance of Cebu’s third bridge through a joint-venture deal with local government units is now P27 billion.

 The amount went up by as much as P10 billion from the previous estimate of P17 billion.

 A Manila newspaper reported that Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. President Ramoncito Fernandez said the cost of the project is between P25 billion and P27 billion, including the acquisition of right of way.

 Fernandez confirmed they have completed negotiations with the government for the construction, development, operation and maintenance of the bridge that will connect Cebu City to the municipality of Cordova through a joint-venture deal.

 With the negotiation complete, Fernandez said MPTC’s tollways arm of infrastructure conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) intends to submit the unsolicited proposal to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) anytime, as it wants to start construction of the facility in less than two years.

 Fernandez said MPTC, Cebu City and Cordova town have already signed the certificate of completed negotiations and that they are now in the final stages of the agreement.

  Cordova Mayor Adelino also confirmed having signed a memorandum of agreement last month.

 Sitoy said that while the project entails no cost to Cordova and Cebu City, the agreement provides one percent share each from the gross income of the bridge operation.

 “Solo ang funding sa MPTC. Wa’y labot ang LGU. Dawat nalang mi’g limpyo,” Sitoy told The Freeman.

 The MPTC is looking at forming a joint venture with the City of Cebu and the municipality of Cordova for the design, construction, implementation, operation, and maintenance of the toll bridge for a period of 35 years including preparatory work, design, and construction.

 The project includes the construction of the main bridge structure, viaduct, causeway, and roadway.

 Fernandez said lending institutions are keen on aiding the expressway operator develop the bridge as early as now. He said they are strongly considering of having the project financed from well-reputed banks.

About 70 percent of the total cost will be sourced from debt while 30 percent will come from equity contributions.

 Fernandez also stressed that by nature, the project will have to undergo a Swiss Challenge, as it is an unsolicited proposal — deals that the Aquino administration generally shrugs off.

 Sitoy said that as agreed, the publication for a “Swiss Challenge” is set within this month.

 Under the “Swiss Challenge” approach, the government would give other private sector participants a chance to submit competitive counter proposals. If the counter proposals are more attractive than the unsolicited or original proposal, the government will give the original project proponent the opportunity to match the competing counter proposal to win the project.

 Assuming that all awards and approvals are secured by the first half of 2015, the MPIC unit intends to complete the project by 2020.

 The proposed toll bridge spanning 8.3 kilometers that would link Mactan to mainland Cebu through Cordova is expected to decongest traffic at the two existing bridges and provide seamless access between the two islands. —/JMO  (FREEMAN)

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