The national government is in the process of finalizing a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 extension to Dasmariñas, Cavite, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told reporters on the sidelines of the PPP Forum on Friday that the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-Cabcom) level granted a conditional approval for the project, which is also known as LRT Line 6.

Balisacan said the ICC-Cabcom wants to ensure that the PPP scheme to be adopted for the 19-kilometer rail line will be advantageous for both the public and private sectors.

“The condition was before we elevate it to the Neda Board, we need to show the other option so that we can compare which one is better for the country, better for government, better for the users of the facility,” Balisacan said.

PPP Center Executive Director Cosette Canilao said the initial PPP scheme presented by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is a build, transfer, operate and maintain scheme.

Under this scheme, the public sector contracts out the building of an infrastructure facility to a private entity. The contractor builds the facility on a turn-key basis and assumes the cost overrun, delay and specified performance risks.

The DOTC, she added, is looking at the possibility of undertaking the project through a build-and-transfer scheme, which entails the private sector building a facility and transferring it to the government. The government will then pay the proponent on an agreed schedule its total investments expended on the project, plus a reasonable rate of return thereon.

“Meron pa silang gustong i-explore na other option. The first option that they already showed is a PPP option that looks promising, especially from the economic filters and other technical issues. But they also want to see other options for the implementation,” Balisacan said.

The P64-billion-worth LRT Line 6 Project will run from Niyog, Bacoor (the terminal of the LRT 1 Cavitex extension) to Dasmariñas City. The proposed right-of-way alignment is along the Aguinaldo Highway with 7 stations, namely: Niyog, Tirona, Imus, Daang Hari, Salitran, Congressional Avenue, and Governor’s Drive.

By Cai U. Ordinario