No budget yet for Davao’s rail transit system

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 April) – Some companies have submitted proposals for the financing of the city’s plan to build a 39.4-kilometer “intracity” rail transit system but these are still being reviewed because it’s a “big task” that may require a budget counterpart from government, an official said.

Tagum City will form part of Davao City’s “intracity” railway system. MindaNews file photo by JULES BENITEZ

Lawyer Tristan Dwight Domingo, Assistant City Administrator told a press briefing on Tuesday that the P35.8-billion project is not part of the 1,532-kilometer Mindanao Railway System.

It is identified as a high priority project in the 27-year Infrastructure Modernization for Davao City or IM4Davao, he said.

He said the project needs preparations due to the cost, the current structure of the road networks, and the topography of the city but “sooner or later we will need this type of infrastructure.”

Mindanao Business Council chair Vicente T. Lao said in a text message on Wednesday that it will be good for the city because it will increase the economic activities here.

A briefer released by the City Information Officer identified the companies that submitted unsolicited proposals for the railway are Korean Engineering Company, Philtram/Maglev Vision Corp. and Udenna Development Corp.

It added they are eyeing to start the construction of the 15-km mass transit main line phase 1 (from Davao-Bukidnon Road to J.P. Laurel Avenue Cor. R. Castillo St.) by 2022.

The other components of the railway are projected to be completed by 2045.

These are the 6.6-km extension 1 (from Toril to Davao-Bukidnon Road), 7.3-km extension 2 (from J.P. Laurel Avenue Cor. R. Castillo Street, to Mudiang, and to airport), 6.9-km spur line from J.P Laurel Avenue to Tagum Digos Central Station, and 3.6-km spur line from Maharlika Highway and Junction of Davao-Bukidnon Road.

The briefer said that at the rate the city’s ridership is growing, an urban railway is necessary by 2024.

The project will be interconnected to the Mindanao Rail Transit, National Economic Development Authority 11 director Maria Lourdes Lim said.

Aside from an urban railway, the city considers the Asian Development Bank-funded High Priority Bus System worth P3.6 billion as the immediate solution to its traffic condition. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)