P2.6B fund for Dream Plan on NCR Traffic Decongestion is attainable – Santiago

By Juzel L. Danganan

MANILA, July 10 (PNA) — The P2.6 billion project fund of the Transport Roadmap for the Greater National Capital Region dubbed as ‘the dream plan for traffic decongestion’ is attainable, according to Bellwether Advisory president Rene Santiago.

”The dream plan is estimated to require P2.6 billion against the current traffic congestion cost of P2.4 billion a day. Surprisingly, the investment can be afforded, provided the Philippine economy continues to grow at its current pace,” Santiago said.

He also mentioned that the process of solving the traffic congestion problem may take several years, but the plan has still to be implemented due to the country’s inability to execute projects of the transport kind.

The Dream Plan differs from other proposed solutions such as the MMetroplan, MMUSTRAP and MMUTIS, since it was accepted by a president and has gained backing from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). It’s also the single plan that will utilize the power of mass media.

Santiago also raised the problem of rapidly increasing vehicle purchases against the number of roads being built.

Moreover, he cited that the improvement of public transportation may lessen the increasing car purchases around the country, adding that the new buyers often keep their old cars, which adds more vehicles on the roads. Currently, there are two million cars being driven around Metro Manila, Santiago said.

Santiago was also wondering that no one dares to confront the minimized operational structure of the big elephant in the room, pertaining to jeepneys and buses.

He also joked that the shaking of the West Valley Fault may help solve the traffic crisis of the Metro Manila area, since it has the power to split the National Capital Region (NCR) in quarters.

Originally designed by the Japanese International Cooperative Agency (JICA), the Transport Roadmap for the Greater National Capital Region is a compilation of strategies focused on improvement of urban roads, expressways, urban railways, road based public transport, traffic management, gateway airports and ports.

Specifically, it includes the opening of a new airport gateway at Sangley, Cavite; transfer of domestic shipping from North Harbor to Batangas Port; 137 kilometers (km) of new roads and six main lines of urban railways.

Rene Santiago, a Civil Engineering cum laude from UP, has established a name both in the public and private sector, mainly with his expertise on matters regarding the transportation field.

He also serves as a consultant on transport for the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, and other institutions based in the country, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Santiago has also written seven technical papers that were received by both local and international foras. (PNA)