Five major local and foreign companies have purchased bid documents for the P171-billion south rail project under the public-private partnership program.
PPP executive director Cosette Canilao identified the interested companies as Ayala Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Metro Pacific Investments Corp., San Miguel Holdings Corp., IL&FS Transport Networks Ltd. of India and US-based Fluor Daniels Pacific Inc.
IL&FS is one of India’s leading infrastructure development and finance companies, while Fluor Daniels is an engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance and project management company.
The bid submission for the P171-billion south line of the North-South Railway Project was rescheduled on March 31, 2016 from Feb. 1.
The Transportation Department originally set the bid submission date for the project on Oct. 15, but deferred it to Dec. 1 and later to Feb. 1.
The project will revive the oldest rail system in Southeast Asia, beginning with the Manila-Legazpi section plus additional branch lines spanning 653 kilometers.
The winning bidder will operate, maintain and upgrade the south line for 34 years, including the construction period of four years.
Under the project’s terms, the winning bidder will take charge of designing, constructing, financing, operating and maintaining the 56-kilometer commuter rail service, for daily riders on the Tutuban, Manila to Calamba, Laguna route and the 478-kilometer long-haul rail service, for travelers on the Tutuban to Legazpi, Albay route.
The long-haul service may also have extensions from Calamba, Laguna to Batangas City and from Legazpi to Matnog, Sorsogon.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya earlier said the south line would be the agency’s “biggest project yet.”
“This project will impact directly on a grassroots level. Those who have less in life, especially farmers and fisherfolk, will be given efficient means to expand their livelihood. This is our biggest project yet, and this is for those who need it most,” Abaya said.
Once the entire railway is operational by 2020, there will be 10 daily trips with seven train sets passing through 66 stations.
It is expected to serve 316,000 passengers a day in its opening year and encourage around 44,000 public and private vehicle owners to leave their vehicles at home and instead use the modern railway.