The National Economic and Development Authority’s (Neda) investment coordinating body on Thursday approved the configuration for the common station project which would connect the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) line 3, the Light Rail Transit (LRT) line 1 and the soon-to-rise MRT line 7 together.

The Neda Investment Coordination Committee–Cabinet Committee (ICC-CC) in a statement said that the P2.8-billion Unified Grand Central Station project is targeted to be delivered by April 2019, “assuming there will be no needless further delays.”

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) last January 18 led the signing of the memorandum of agreement that would pave the way for its construction which would start in December.

The stakeholders in the project are SM Prime Holdings, San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Light Rail Manila Corp., the LRT 1 operator owned by Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

The building of the common station got derailed for years due to the conflict on where to construct it.

The government in 2014 had wanted the common station to be built near Trinoma mall in Quezon City because it would be cheaper at P1.4 billion.

This prompted the SM Prime Holdings to seek an injunction from the Supreme Court to oppose the transfer for violating a 2009 memorandum of agreement with Light Rail Transit Authority that the common station should be constructed in front of the SM North Edsa.

After much legal scuffling, the stakeholders finally agreed to build the common station in between SM North Edsa and Trinoma.

DOTr Assistant Secretary Leaf Quiambao last month gave the assurance that commuters will bear no fare increase with the construction of the common station. IDL/rga

23 March 2017
By Ed Margareth Barahan