21 July 2016

Government eyes Subic-Clark cargo railway system

The Department of Transportation will pursue a dedicated cargo railway line between Subic and Clark as part of reforms in the cargo sector that would help resolve the country's traffic crisis.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, who was guest speaker at an event Tuesday organized the World Trade Center in Metro Manila, revealed the Subic-Clark railway line as among his plans for the transportation sector.

Tugade said connecting Subic port to Clark via a railway for carrying cargo, which he said has President Duterte's approval "in principle," will also be able overcome trucking costs.

The transport chief also vowed to build a passenger train line linking Metro Manila and the Clark freeport zone in Pampanga, where the alternative gateway Clark International Airport is located. The train line would connect Clark to Metro Manila either in the Trinoma Shopping Mall in Quezon City or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, Tugade said.

These plans are among the campaign promises of President Duterte which form part of a massive effort to increase connectivity and cut road and air congestion via mass railway systems.

As part of a longer term goal, Tugade said all freight vehicles would travel around the country only via railway and roll-on/roll-off, or Ro-Ro, shipping systems, helping decongest roads.

Tugade said plans would still need to be studied by the National Economic and Development Authority, but it was the government’s intention to move swiftly. Tugade said his department would formalize plans within 90 days.

“The train will be there,” Tugade said.

Clark International Airport, despite excess capacity, has struggled to lure passengers due to the lack of mass transit options. By contrast, Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport, where expansion options are limited, is operating beyond its intended capacity.

The need for railway systems has been identified under previous administrations. The difficulty has been getting these projects off the ground, typically due to their complexity, high-cost and right-of-way issues. (Inquirer.net)


Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade