MANILA, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Department of Transportation of the Philippines on Thursday signed four civil works contracts totaling 1.87 billion U.S. dollars for the South Commuter Railway Project, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.
The Manila-based bank said the project, which will lay nearly 55 km of railway segment to connect Metro Manila with Calamba City in the neighboring Laguna province, is financed with 4.3 billion U.S. dollars in loans approved by ADB in June 2022.
ADB Deputy Director General for Southeast Asia Winfried Wicklein said during the contract signing ceremony in Calamba City that the South Commuter Railway project "will open tremendous opportunities for economic integration across Metro Manila and neighboring provinces and create a significant positive impact on the local economy."
"It will strengthen the country's economic recovery, create as many as 35,000 construction jobs and more than 3,000 permanent jobs during the railway operation, and improve access for residents of Laguna province to employment in Metro Manila," he added.
Once completed, the ADB said, the railway project "will provide affordable, safe, and fast public transport, help ease road traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 284,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually as commuters switch from road to rail transportation.
The ADB is funding the civil works for the railway viaduct, stations, bridges, tunnels, and depot buildings. The project is part of the North-South Commuter Railway network, which is ADB's largest infrastructure financing in Asia and the Pacific to date. Over 600,000 passengers are expected to use the entire North-South Commuter Railway network system daily by 2040. ■