Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which extended P31 billion in loans for the construction of the 93.77-kilometer Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), has expressed interest to participate in the planned $1.9 billion 82-kilometer Clark Rail.
However, project proponent Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is more inclined to have the project put under the private-public partnership (PPP) model.
“Our bias is PPP,” said BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova as he noted that JICA is a source of official development assistance fund. Taking in an ODA fund means BCDA will have to incur loans.
Under PPP, a project will have to put for competitive bidding where the private sector will have to vie for the project and fund its construction with the government taking a stake in the venture.
Ma. Aurora D. Geotina-Garcia, BCDA chairperson told reporters though that JICA is one among those that expressed interest to participate in the development of Clark Green City.
“JICA is one option, we are not closing the doors who knows they’re equity funders,” Geotina-Garcia said adding that BCDA had partnered with JICA for the successful construction of the SCTEX.
BCDA will build the Clark Rail that will connect Clark to Malolos, Bulacan via an 82-kilometer rail. From Malolos, the rail will connect up to the Tutuban Rail in Manila.
Clark Green City, which is envisioned to be the first smart city in the country, is expected to contribute 4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 25 to 30 years.
Earlier, BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said that the Clark Rail construction is targeted to start by 2017 for the Malolos, Bulacan, to Clark Green City line.
The BCDA has already drafted its options for the alignment of railways and has completed both the traffic study and preliminary designs.
“We just need to come up with the partners for this. They have to do their own study. Under our charter, we (BCDA) have the power to directly negotiate with companies that will be submitting specific proposals. This option is something we are working on with Join,” he said.
According to Casanova, BCDA is not likely to use the existing PNR line, which traverses existing town centers, as the agency wanted a cheaper and more convenient alternative to ensure continued construction.
“The less disturbance you create, the faster the execution you can have. What we want is cheaper and more convenient construction. What we want is for the railway to pass through the undeveloped areas because it will be difficult to create big stations in existing town centers,” he said.
He said the BCDA would have to spend a lot for relocating those within the right of way.