Press Release
October 26, 2011

P6.4B rehab of LRT, MRT to result in improved services, increased ridership

Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday welcomed the rolling out P6.37 billion for the rehabilitation of the elevated railway lines even as he urged government to consider locally sourcing the materials or equipment needed in the planned upgrade.

Recto likewise commended government for forking out the funds without telegraphing the possibility of increasing the fare rates afterwards.

"This is a laudable move. We have been calling for the upgrading of the train systems to improve services, decongest the trains and move more riders," Recto, Senate chair of the ways and means committee, said.

The senator nevertheless said time must be ripe to start developing local industries that would eventually supply the trains and replacement parts for the LRT and MRT systems.

"Importing the coaches and spare parts from abroad would mean subsidizing a foreign worker. We could eventually buy or make them locally," he said.

Recto said sourcing the trains or coaches from the domestic front would translate to savings in foreign exchange and spur job generation.

"Developing our own train-making industry will have a multiplier effect," he said, noting that a new industry would be spawned that would create a skilled labor force.

He stressed the government could use as model the thriving shipbuilding/shiprepair industry in Cebu and Subic and even the obiquitous jeepney assemblers that churn out "sleek and shiny metallic icons on wheels" in jumpstarting the train-making industry.

Recto nevertheless said the 'investment' poured in by government into the rehabilitation of the LRT and MRT lines would be recouped in terms of increased ridership and revenues from advertising and lease deals.

"The increased patronage and income may ultimately off-set the need to increase fares," he said.

Malacañang will spend P6.37 billion to rehabilitate and upgrade the three light rail lines of Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2 and Metro Rail Transit Line 3.

Of the total, P4.5 billion will be used to purchase 26 additional coaches for the12-year old MRT, while P1.87 billion has been set aside to improve the trains, rails and stations of LRT 1 and 2, which are 30 years old and 10 years old, respectively.

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