2012 NEWS » Tollway is...      
Tollway is ‘deal of the year’
Sunday, 22 April, 2012Written by Joel E. Zurbano

London-based trade magazine cited the Philippines’ Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Toll Expressway (TPLEX) project as the Asia-Pacific Transport Deal of the Year 2011.

Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson said the citation from Project Finance Magazine, published by the Euromoney Publications for more than 25 years, is a confirmation that Philippines is doing the right approach for infrastructure development.

“The P19-billion financing for the TPLEX is the first [Public-Private Partnership] project in the Philippines to feature an all-domestic cast of sponsors and lenders,” the magazine said.

“The P11.5 billion debt financing is likely to serve as a benchmark for the Philippines’ ambitious slate of PPP financings in a variety of transport and social infrastructure sectors,” the magazine added.

The two-lane TPLEX connecting Central and Northern Luzon is a first of its kind to be implemented through PPP and will cut one-and-a-half hours off the travel time from Manila to Baguio.

The project, which involves the two-phase construction of an 88.58 km. tollway from La Paz, Tarlac (end of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) to Rosario, La Union, is now 67 percent complete for Phase 1 covering Tarlac City to Carmen, Pangasinan.

The Philippine government recognizes PPP as an approach to invest resources for adequate road infrastructure inasmuch as the national government has less financial resources to invest on expressways.

The project was awarded through bidding to the concession of Private Infrastructure Development Corp. (PIDC), led by San Miguel Corporation and D.M. Consunji Inc.

Compared to earlier transportation projects, bidding award for TPLEX Project was based on lowest toll offered rather than lowest construction cost. The bidders were also compelled to provide letters of interest from lenders rather than underwritten commitments.

The DPWH has undertaken reforms needed to create a more transparent and conducive environment for private business and help generate more bankable projects.

Financing for the project was undertaken by three domestic banks, namely BDO Unibank, Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines.

The project also employed a contractor-led process that essentially involved the project company serving as its own engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

DPWH officials said the completion of the expressway will contribute to improving traffic condition along McArthur Highway and will provide faster, safer and more comfortable means of transportation to northbound vehicles and vice versa.

The Phase 1 is the construction of new two-lane expressway, 23 viaducts, eight interchanges, two central toll plaza, one toll operations center building, 12 bridges and 63 underpasses while Phase 2 will be the expansion into four lanes to be undertaken when capacity reaches 25,000 vehicles.

(Published in the Manila Standard Today newspaper on /2012/April/23)



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