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First Pacific eyes tollway extension
A. B. L. Lorenzo, Business World (19 Jul 2004)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: Hong Kong's First Pacific Co. Ltd., the flagship firm of the wealthy Salim family of Indonesia, wants to join the consortium that will rehabilitate and connect the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx), the Metro Manila Skyway, and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) in Batangas, just south of Metro Manila.

First Pacific managing director Manuel V. Pangilinan said initial investment for the project would be PhP5 billion.

"We are interested in helping out for the integration of the South Luzon expressway, the Skyway and the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road. There are also certain Indonesian investors who are interested," Mr. Pangilinan told reporters late last week.

The Metro Manila Skyway was built by a group that included Indonesian investors, some of whom were reportedly connected with the family of Indonesia's former president Suharto.

State-run National Development Company (NDC) approved "in principle" early this month a plan to rehabilitate and integrate the three highways to cut travel time from Metro Manila to the Port of Batangas. Groundbreaking is expected this month

SLEx, Skyway and STAR will be integrated into a single toll system run by a single operating authority.

NDC said it would first finance the rehabilitation of the SLEx segment that included the Alabang viaduct. The expressway will then be extended 7.48 kilometers from Calamba, Laguna to Sto. Tomas, Batangas, where it will be connected to STAR. The STAR tollway will also be repaired and extended 20 kilometers from Lipa, Batangas to Batangas City.

An early estimate of the Lipa-Batangas highway was PhP2.2 billion, including right-of-way acquisition.

The Alabang viaduct's repair and the extension of SLEx from Calamba to Sto. Tomas will cost another PhP1.6 billion.

Trade officials had said a seamless road connection from Manila to the Batangas Port would result in "operational and maintenance efficiency."

Finance officials had said NDC would sell bonds to finance the highway project.

Hong Kong's First Pacific is the parent company of local firm Metro Pacific Corporation. It also has interests in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.

Source: http://www.bworld.com.ph

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Vehicular air pollution > Transportation and traffic management
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