AfDB approves loan of up to $4.3 billion for railway project in the Philippines

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Commuters ride a makeshift cart at a railway in Metro Manila July 26, 2009. The pedal carts, made from lightweight materials such as bamboo, can be easily removed from the tracks when an oncoming train approaching in the opposite direction. REUTERS/John Javellana

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MANILA, June 9 (Reuters) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Thursday it had approved a loan of up to $4.3 billion for a rail project in the Philippines, a much-needed boost to its aging rail infrastructure.

Of more than 1,100 kilometers (683.5 miles) before World War II, the Philippines had only 77 km of operational railways in 2016, well behind other urban centers in Asia, according to government data.

The 55-kilometre Southern Commuter Railway project is the AfDB’s largest infrastructure financing in the Asia-Pacific region to date, the bank’s Vice President Ahmed Saeed said in a statement.

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The project will halve the travel time between Manila and the city of Calamba in Laguna Province, from the current 2.5 hours. The Japan International Cooperation Agency funds rolling stock and railway systems.

All infrastructure financed by the AfDB, such as civil works for the railway viaduct, 18 stations, bridges, tunnels and depot buildings, will be designed to withstand disasters and able to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. land, according to the statement.

In 2019, the Manila-based lender pledged to finance a $2.5 billion railway line north of the capital which is currently under construction.

Two railway projects have been completed under President Rodrigo Duterte while six are ongoing and six others have yet to begin construction. When completed, the Philippines will have 1,209 km of railways.

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Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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