MANILA, May 23 (Xinhua) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved financing of up to 2.75 billion U.S. dollars for the construction of 53.1 kilometers of a passenger railway in the northern Philippines, the Manila-based bank said on Thursday.
The railway will connect Malolos, a suburb north of the Philippine capital Manila, to Clark economic zone and Clark International Airport in Central Luzon.
The Malolos-Clark railway is part of the Philippine government’s North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project, a 163-km suburban railway network stretching from New Clark City in Tarlac province to Calamba in Laguna province in the south of Manila. The NSCR project is expected to be completed by 2025.
Kelly Bird, the country director of the ADB’s country office, said the Malolos-Clark Railway project will provide safe, reliable, and affordable public transport for a total of about 342,000 passengers expected to travel daily along the Manila-Clark corridor and up to 696,000 passengers per day to Calamba by 2025.
Bird added the project, which is expected to be partially operational from 2022, is estimated to cut the travel time from Metro Manila to Clark International Airport to less than one hour by rail, compared with 2 to 3 hours by car or bus today.
ADB will be financing civil works of the Malolos-Clark Railway Project, including the stations, bridges, and viaducts for the elevated railway alignment, and a tunnel leading to the underground station at Clark International Airport.
ADB said it also assists the Philippine government in using global standards for procurement and environmental and resettlement safeguards.
The project is cofinanced with up to 2 billion U.S. dollars by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which will finance the rolling stock and the railway systems.