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Financing for MRT 7 yet to be finalized

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 [ ]

By Darwin G. Amojelar, Reporter

THE investors of the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 have yet to get financial closure for the construction of the rail system, an official of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said. Ruben Reinoso, NEDA assistant director-general for infrastructure, said the Universal LRT Corp. (ULC), has yet to complete the financing for the construction of the system.

ULC, a consortium led by the group of Salvador Zamora II and the La Costa Development Co., which owns majority of the ULC or about 52 percent, plans to start the construction by 2010.

Zamora is president of Hinatuan Mining Corp.

Other investors in the project include the listed investment holding firm SM Investments.

Corp., which owns 20 percent of the consortium, the Velasco group with 20 percent and Levin group with 10 percent.

Projected to cost $1.235 billion, the proposed 20-kilometer MRT 7 will run from San Jose del Monte station in Bulacan to SM City station in North Avenue to link the line to LRT Line 1 and MRT 3.

The line will begin its route from Tala, Caloocan City, passing through La Mesa Dam reservoir, Fairview, Batasan, Diliman, Philcoa, and ending at EDSA-North Avenue.

It will serve an estimated two million commuters in the northern parts of Quezon City and Caloocan City.

Apart from the elevated transport system, ULC will also build at no cost a 17-kilometer, six-lane asphalt access road in Marilao, Bulacan, that will lead to its depot in Tala.

Besides the railway project, the ULC will develop the real-estate component, which is estimated to cost $2.2 billion. The firm’s plan is to develop 900,000 square meters of commercial space throughout the concession period.

The private investors will also develop two million square meters of residential space, he added.

ULC targets late 2012 to complete and operate the MRT 7.


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