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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Rillo urges DOTr to hasten MRT-3 upgrade

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Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo wants the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to fast-track the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) so that it can easily increase its capacity to accommodate 500,000 commuters per day from the current 300,000 passengers.

“We want MRT-3’s carrying capacity upgrade to succeed so that commuters will have faster, safer, and more convenient rides,” Rillo, vice chairperson of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said in a statement on Sunday.

MRT-3 moved an aggregate of 98.3 million commuters in 2022, or 273,141 per day.

“We, in Congress, are prepared to provide the DOTr all the funding needed to renew the aging train line,” Rillo, also a member of the House committee on appropriations, said.

In the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for 2024, the DOTr is asking for P2.9 billion in new appropriations for the MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project, in addition to the P549 million earmarked for the same item this year.

One of the project targets is to enable MRT-3 trains to run four railcars at a time instead of three, thus allowing the entire line to transfer an additional 200,000 commuters per day, according to Rillo.

On top of the P2.9 billion for the rehabilitation project, the DOTr is also asking Congress for P6 billion in subsidy for MRT-3 plus P1.3 billion for the train line’s operations and maintenance.

The subsidy is meant to cover any deficiency in the train line’s operating income and help keep fares down.

At present, MRT-3’s fare box revenue and non-rail income are used to pay for the equity rental and other obligations due the Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC), the private consortium that built the train line.

The elevated train line began operations in 2000 and was constructed under a 25-year build-lease-and-transfer agreement with the DOTr that expires in 2025.

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