P12B per km: Tugade’s subway cost soars by 60% and it hasn’t started yet
The estimated cost of the ambitious Metro Manila subway being pushed by Transportation Secretary Art Tugade has already swelled by more than half since he unveiled his plans five months ago.
With the groundbreaking for the project scheduled to start 12 months from now, the cost projections for this monstrous project, initially proposed by the late Bilyonaryo David Consunji during his brief sting as Public Works minister in the 1970s, will only get higher
Last Sept. 12, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the Metro Manila Subway project at a projected cost of P358.25 billion.
This is 57.8 percent more than the P227 billion project costs when Tugade first announced the project in April.
One of the major revisions Tugade and his team of experts made in the last five months was to extend the line from the Food Terminal Inc. complex in Taguig to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Pasay City.
Another major revision was the timetable as Tugade pushed the start of the project to the fourth quarter of 2018 and stretched its completion target to seven years to 2025. Originally, the project was supposed to start in 2020 and completed by 2024.
The estimated 30-kilometer subway from Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City to Pasay City is expected to cost P11.94 billion per kilometer.
In fairness, Tugade declared that the original P227 billion project cost was just a “ballpark figure.”
The subway will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with an annual interest of 0.10 percent per annum payable in 40 years, with a grace period of 12 years.
President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign his most expensive project in November during the visit of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the ASEAN Summit in Manila.