July 27, 2016 | BusinessWorld Online | Janina C. Lim

THE government announced a P1.03-billion budget for the systems upgrade contract to support the introduction of new light rail carriages from China, to be used on Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3).

In a bid invitation published in a circular yesterday, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) "through the General Appropriations Act of 2015, intends to apply the sum of P1,032,266,064... to payments under the contract for the MRT-3 Capacity Expansion Project Lot 2: Upgrade of Ancillary Systems."

The projects under the contract will facilitate the Line 3 deployment of 48 new coaches purchased last year from CNR Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. for P3.8 billion. They include the upgrade of the traction power sub-station, overhead catenary system, and depot facilities, and the construction of the North Avenue turnback and Taft pocket track extension.

Shipments of the new coaches are expected to be complete by January.

A South Korean-Filipino joint venture led by Busan Transportation Corp. has a three-year P3.81-billion maintenance contract for the line.

The bid documents were available as of Tuesday with a bid submission deadline of Sept. 1. The cost to purchase the documents is P75,000.

The winning bidder must complete the works within 450 calendar days from the receipt of the notice to proceed.