By Cai Ordinario | Business Mirror | June 8, 2015

The national government has created a P1.92-trillion-worth pipeline of various infrastructure projects that will be undertaken in the medium and long term, according to data obtained from the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

The bulk of the cost will be used to undertake 16 rail projects  worth P935.19 billion. Only seven of these projects will be implemented in the medium term, and the rest are being proposed to be undertaken in the long term.

The medium-term projects amount to P529.28 billion. The largest of which is the P390-billion-worth Mega Manila Subway, a 74.6-kilometer subway which will run from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, to Dasmariñas, Cavite.

In terms of  long-term projects for railways, the government estimates that these projects will cost around P367.4 billion. The largest of which is the proposed elevated portion of the Metro Rail Transit  (MRT)   Line 7,  which is estimated to cost P104.92 billion.

The proposed 24-km elevated portion of the MRT 7 will run from Blumentritt in Manila to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, and end at Banaba in San Mateo, Rizal.

Other areas that will account for most of the allocation will be airports, worth P475.9 billion; and expressways and highways, P431.33 billion.

The airports include the proposed New Ninoy Aquino International Airport,which is estimated to cost P436.9 billion and the Clark airport worth P40 billion.

In terms of highways and expressways, there are a total of P201.94 billion worth of new medium and long-term projects. There are a total of 10 medium-term projects and five long-term road projects.

Medium-term road projects were estimated to cost P130.14 billion. The largest of which is the P30.21 billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway, which has already been committed under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program.  The other big-ticket new project to be undertaken in the medium term is the P24.85-billion-worth North Luzon Expressway

(Nlex)-San Jose del Monte-Caba-natuan-San Jose section. The proposed road is 99.4 kilometers long.

In terms of new long-term road projects, the Neda estimated that these are worth P71.8 billion. The largest project is the Manila City–Quezon City (Quezon Avenue) R-7 Expressway, a 10.2-kilometer road worth P24.48 billion.

The other new long-term road projects include the P12.71-billion Cavitex Extension West to Rosario; P10.14-billion Guiginto Bustos Expressway; P11.95-billion Nlex Extension West (Subic-San Fernando); and the P12.52-billion South Luzon Expressway (Slex) Extension East (Calamba–Lucena).

Most of the highways and expressways to be undertaken in the medium  and long term are upgrades of existing roads. There are 25 road projects to be upgraded in the medium and long term.

The largest road to be upgraded in the medium term is the P11.23-billion Bay-Antipolo road with an estimated length of 86.4 km.

Neda data showed that in terms of long-term upgrades, the largest one is the Sctex-North, whose

upgrade is estimated to cost P13.08 billion. The pipeline also includes P58.5 billion worth of proposed road-based public transport; P5.25 billion worth of traffic-management projects; and at least P15 billion worth of port projects.

In February Neda Director General and Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said infrastructure projects will be a key driver of the country’s economic growth in the coming years.

Balisacan noted that the economy is targeted to grow by 7 percent to 8 percent in 2015 and 2016. The industry sector is projected to grow the fastest, while services is expected to remain robust during the period.

“We need to continue removing key infrastructure bottlenecks that have limited the potential of various sectors of the economy, especially in the areas of industry and agriculture,” Balisacan said.

However, in the first quarter of 2015, the economy only posted a growth of 5.2 percent, the slowest since the last quarter of 2011, when the country’s gross domestic product grew 3.8 percent.

With this low economic growth in the first quarter, the government estimates that the economy must post an average growth of 7.5 percent in the second to fourth quarters.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that public construction contracted 24.6 percent in the first quarter this year, from a growth of 17.5 percent in the same period in 2014.