(Eagle News) — After almost a decade of delay, authorities on Friday held the launch of the start of construction of the P2.8-billion Grand Unified Central Station that will link the Light Rail Transit 1, the Metro Rail Transit 3 and the planned MRT 7, in Quezon City.
In a television interview, Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the launch of the P2.8-billion project was made possible after the “parties involved” sat down and talked to settle their differences, and agreed to put their trust on President Rodrigo Duterte.
The parties Tugade was apparently referring to were the government, SM Prime Holdings and Ayala Corporation.
SM Prime Holdings earlier sued the then-Department of Transportation and Communication, and the Light Rail Transit Authority for alleged breach of contract after the two agencies made known the station would be built near Ayala Corporation’s Trinoma.
SM Prime Holdings argued it secured approval in 2009 from the National Economic Development Authority for the construction of the common station in front of SM North Edsa, but the DOTC said this had already expired.
The Supreme Court stopped the construction of the project in 2014.
500,000 passengers daily
According to Tugade, after the talks, all parties agreed to have the station built between SM North Edsa and Trinoma.
“Yung unang lugar, maliit lang ang maaaccomodate,” Tugade said, noting that the new location would enable the common station, when finished, to serve 500,000 passengers a day.
He said the government and private stakeholders would shoulder the project cost.
He said construction of the Grand Unified Central Station is expected to be completed in 2019.
Actual construction to expand the Metro Manila subway system, he said, would then begin in the third quarter of 2019.
He said traffic rerouting schemes would be implemented in the area.
“Sa pamamagitan niyan ang panandaliang sakripisyo ay makikinabang ang sambayanan ng pangmatagalan,” he said.