Clark-NAIA high-speed rail eyed

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Thursday, August 28, 2014


CLARK FREEPORT -- The government is now studying the feasibility of constructing a high-speed rail, which will connect Clark International Airport (CRK) and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

This was learned the other day from Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) president Victor Jose Luciano who said that President Aquino is "very open about it."

Luciano said that the possibility of a high-speed rail to Clark has already been discussed during a Cabinet (cluster for airport strategy) meeting headed the President last Tuesday.

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The President is optimistic about a faster connection into Clark, Luciano mentioned in his speech during the signing of memoranda of agreement to prevent human trafficking and the entry of illegal drugs in Clark.

"Siguro nakikita na matagal pa ang Sangley at yung short, medium and long-term solution for a gateway airport ang feasible talaga ang Clark," Luciano said.

The additional runway at the NAIA is not enough to accommodate the expected volume of passengers in the next five to 10 years, said Luciano.

"So nakikita na talaga ng government na Clark will play a big role," he said.

The new rail project could use the old North Rail alignment, Luciano said. “Hinahanap na lang yung connection pagdating sa Tutuban Manila, connection sa commercial center sa Makati, Fort Bonifacio at NAIA.”

President Benigno Aquino III has given the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) the go signal to conduct a feasibility study for a high-speed rail, Luciano added.

"The feasibility study I suppose would take anywhere from six to nine months. From there malalaman na kung ano yung mga factors considered, whether it is going to be ODA, PPP, lahat yun no," Luciano said.

The President headed the discussion during the cabinet meeting, which was attended by officials of the DOTC, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and other agencies concerned in airport strategies.

"If you look at all the other airports, in order to be an effective airport from the city, you need to have a good connection of about an hour to your destination airport," Luciano said.

"So, pag aaralan 'yan, pati speed ng train dapat to achieve that one hour to one hour and 15 minutes. 'Yun ang nakikita sa ibang airports. Otherwise, yung mga pasahero will no longer find it convenient kung babiyahe sila ng malayo," he added.

Although it is not totally junked, the airport project proposal in Sangley Point, Cavite, according to the President, is too long at time, Luciano said.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 29, 2014.

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