MANILA, Philippines – The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) has given San Miguel Corp. (SMC) the green light to collect fees in the recently opened segment of the P24-billion Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
TRB executive director Edmund Reyes Jr.said that SMC’s Private Infra Development Corp. (PIDC) could start collecting toll for the Carmen to Urdaneta segment of 88.8-kilometer TPLEX on March 17.
“In accordance with the Toll Concession Agreement by and among the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the TRB, and PIDC, the pre-accepted toll rates, inclusive of value added tax, are hereby approved for implementation starting March 17,” Reyes said.
The new rates would cover Segment 6 of the toll road stretching from Carmen to Urdaneta in Pangasinan.
Under the approved rates, class 1 users including cars and jeepneys entering La Paz would be charged P30 until Victoria, P58 until Gerona, P79 until Paniqui, P99 until Moncada, P164 until Carmen and P216 until Urdaneta while class 2 vehicles including buses and trucks would have to shell out P76 until Victoria, P145 until Gerona, P197 until Paniqui, P247 until Moncada, P410 until Carmen, and P540 until Urdaneta.
On the other hand, class 3 vehicles or trucks with more than two axles would be charged P91 until Victoria , P175 until Gerona , P237 until Paniqui, P296 until Moncada, P492 until Carmen, and P648 until Urdaneta.
SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang earlier said PIDC expects to fully complete the toll road by 2015 or three years ahead of 2018 schedule.
“In terms of construction, we are ahead of schedule. We are on track to delivering the entire length of TPLEX as early as 2015,” Ang stressed.
The two-hour travel time from Tarlac to Carmen will be cut to only thirty minutes. Once completed, it will cut travel time from Tarlac to La Union to only one hour.
The TPLEX, one of several infrastructure projects in SMC’s portfolio and its first greenfield tollway project, is seen as a vital road project in Luzon, connecting the central and northern Luzon provinces to Manila and beyond through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and the North Luzon Expressway.
From end-to-end, the TPLEX will traverse 17 towns and two cities (Tarlac and Urdaneta City) across four provinces: Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija. The TPLEX under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) program is being undertaken by the all-Filipino consortium including the Consunji-led DMCI Holdings Inc.
Since its diversification to infrastructure, SMC has been aggressive in pursuing much-needed road projects.
Aside from TPLEX, the diversified conglomerate is pursuing the P15.5-billion Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) expressway as well as the P26.5-billion Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project connecting the South Luzon expressway (SLEX) and the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX).
It has also expressed interested in major public private partnership (PPP) projects including the P123 billion Laguna Lakeshore expressway dike project as well as the rebidding of the P35.4 billion Cavite Laguna expressway.
The Philippine Star, 11 March 2015
By Lawrence Agcaoili