ADB Approves $4.3B in Funding For PH Railway Project
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved up to $4.3 billion in funding to help finance the construction of a nearly 55-kilometer (km) modern suburban railway line connecting Metro Manila and the Philippine city of Calamba.
Photo Insert: A PNR NSCR train delivery
The South Commuter Railway Project, which is part of the North–South Commuter Railway (NSCR) network, represents ADB's largest infrastructure financing in Asia and the Pacific region to date.
According to ADB Vice-President for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Ahmed M. Saeed, “This project represents ADB’s biggest infrastructure investment and reflects our commitment to helping the Philippines attain its goals of reducing poverty, improving the lives of Filipinos, and achieving green, resilient, and high economic growth.
When finished, the South Commuter Railway will provide commuters with fast public transportation, help to alleviate road traffic congestion and contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Philippines' climate change agenda.
The project follows ADB's financing of the Malolos–Clark Railway line north of the capital, which is currently under construction.
The project entails the construction of 18 stations designed to provide safe access for all, including the elderly, women, children, and people with disabilities, as well as the construction of a connecting tunnel to allow direct trains from Calamba to stations on the future Metro Manila Subway system.
All infrastructure will be built to be disaster-resistant, with the ability to withstand typhoons and earthquakes. The project will cut travel time between Manila and Calamba by more than half, from 2.5 hours to 1.5 hours.
The NSCR will help the Philippines' economy recover from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by creating more than 35,500 construction jobs and over 3,200 permanent jobs during operation.
It will have a significant multiplier effect on the economy through supplier contracts and new opportunities created by improved connectivity in the region. According to an ADB study, it will improve residents' access to an average of more than 300,000 jobs within a one-hour commute.
Other Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs) financed by ADB include the Metro Manila Bridges Project in 2021, the EDSA Greenways Project in 2020, the Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project in 2016 and additional financing in 2020, the Malolos Clark Railway Project in 2019, and the Improving Growth Corridors in Mindanao Road Sector Project in 2017.