ALMOST P30 billion of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC)’s P48.7 billion funding next year will be allotted for the continued modernization of the country’s transport system, including the development of airports and seaports.
Of the P29.8 billion funding to upgrade the transport system, improvement of the country’s rail transport system will take up over half or P16.32 billion.
The government increased the DOTC’s 2014 budget by 31% over this year’s P37.1 billion outlay as the Aquino administration aims to provide reliable, safe and affordable public transportation system nationwide.
The P48.7 billion budget is part of the P2.268-trillion national budget for 2014 that Malacañang submitted to Congress.
Public infrastructure projects will get a total of P399 billion funding in 2014. the amount, which is equivalent to 3% of the gross domestic product target for next year, is 35% higher than this year’s appropriated infrastructure spending of P295 billion.
A total of P9.014 billion will go to the development of air transport facilities encompassing 37 domestic and international airports.
A total of P3.167 billion will be channeled to the country’s maritime transport development plans as part of the government’s medium-term goal of ensuring an integrated nautical network. The budget will cover 44 ports, wharves, causeways and boat landing areas.
Plans include the development of an integrated multimodal logistics and transportation system that involves identifying and developing logistics corridors that will benefir both large cities and smaller towns and rural areas.
The Star report said that the DOTC is studying the possibility of establishing RoRo (roll-on/roll-off) ports in isolated areas, developing the country’s cruise shipping industry, creating the Greater Capital Region -Subic-Clark-Manila-Batangas transport and logistics corridor.
National Economic and Development Authority director general Arsenio M. Balicasan said the surge in infrastructure spending next year will reduce the cost of transporting goods and people, support agricultural productivity, reduce risk from disasters and boost economic investments and employment.
The governmenthas allocated a P40-million special purpose fund for the preparation of feasibility studies on infrastructure to help meet the greater demand for sound and economically viable projects in the coming years. — PORTCALLS