The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has just become a major proponent of one of the Philippines’ most extensive infrastructure projects, the North-South Commuter Railway Network. The North-South Commuter Railway Network (NSCR) is a 163km urban rail transit system that will run from New Clark City in Tarlac Province (north of Metro Manila) to Calamba, Laguna Province (south of Metro Manila).
ADB has just approved a loan package of up to USD 4.3 billion to specifically finance the construction of the South Commuter Railway Project of the NSCR. It covers nearly 55km of the modern suburban railway line that will connect Metro Manila to Calamba, Laguna. The project includes the construction of a total of 18 stations which are designed to provide safe access for all, including the elderly, women, children, and people with disabilities; and a connecting tunnel to allow the operation of direct trains from Calamba to stations on the future Metro Manila Subway system. All infrastructure will be designed to be disaster-resilient and able to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. The project will reduce travel time between Manila and Calamba by over half, from 2.5 hours currently by road.
Regarding the financing structure, the project will be financed under a multi-tranche financing facility, with the first tranche of USD 1.75 billion to be made available in 2022. The release of the second and third tranches is expected in 2024 and 2026, respectively. ADB will finance civil works for the railway viaduct, stations, bridges, tunnels, and depot buildings while the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding the rolling stock and railway systems.
ADB and JICA jointly approved and funded another component of the NSCR, the Malolos-Clark Railway Project (53.1km) in 2019 which is presently being constructed.
(Sources: Philippine News Agency; Asian Development Bank)