By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes Updated January 31, 2009 12:00 AM
[ philstar.com ]
Lopez-led First Philippine Infrastructure Inc. (FPII) and the state-run Philippine National Railways (PNR) entered into a memorandum of understanding yesterday to explore mutually beneficial investment opportunities in transport infrastructure.
Under the MOU, PNR and FPII agreed to jointly conduct a pre-feasibility study for an alternative facility that will connect the North and South Luzon Expressways by way of an integrated rail and tollway project, utilizing the existing PNR line right-of-way that cuts across Metro Manila.
Initial discussions are focused on the development of an 18-kilometer integrated rail and tollroad project that will feature a combined at-grade and elevated roadways over the existing PNR line in Metro Manila.
“PNR’s vision is to pursue and develop business opportunities for related services towards the establishment and maintenance of a dependable, economical, safe and integrated transport system in the country,“ PNR chairman Michael Defensor said.
For his part, FPII president and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez said the Manila North Tollways Corp. (MNTC) and the Tollways Management Corp. under FPII have very well managed and maintained the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) as a major national tollroad concession development.
“Our know-how and operating systems will support the PNR in its projects,” Fernandez added.
Meanwhile, FPII and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) chairman Manuel Pangilinan said they look forward to an opportunity of providing PNR their commercial and technical experience for the improvement and efficiency of the country’s infrastructure system.
“Paving the way for PNR’s infrastructure projects as part of MPIC’s thrust into infrastructure will help ease the congestion in the Greater Metro Manila transportation networks,” Pangi-linan added.
PNR chairman and general manager Manuel Andal said the railway agency, as a pioneer government provider of rail services, intends to pursue related infrastructure projects with the view of expanding the scope of the national integrated transport system in order to sustain the country’s long term growth.