P34 rate hike sought for 8-km NLEx-SLEx connector road
NLEx Corp., a unit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. (MPTC), has submitted a request to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) for a toll rate adjustment in its NLEx Connector Road, which is now fully operational after the opening of another interchange. Company president J. Luigi Bautista told reporters that they were seeking an add-on toll commensurate to the service they are providing as the entire stretch of the 8-kilometer expressway linking the north and south Luzon expressways can now accommodate motorists.
The MPTC unit started collecting fees amounting to P86 in August for the Caloocan-España segment of the toll road.
Bautista said that with the NLEx Connector now linking motorists up to Sta. Mesa, they were asking the TRB for approval of a higher toll rate of P120, or an increase of P34.
“We already filed the petition. As we speak, it is being evaluated by the TRB. It takes the same process, the same evaluation that they do so they can determine whether the fractional toll is reasonable,” he noted.
Bautista said NLEx Corp. was hoping to secure the greenlight soon as the toll road is seeing a daily vehicular volume of 15,000 on average.
Funding for expansion
NLEx Connector is a public-private partnership project between the Department of Public Works and Highways and the MPTC unit that seeks to reduce the travel time of cargo going to and from the north and south of Luzon.
The company needs additional funds as it is estimated to spend P15 billion next year for the construction of the third Candaba viaduct at NLEx and the lane expansion of the road linking San Fernando in Pampanga and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.
The 5-km viaduct linking Apalit, Pampanga, and Pulilan, Bulacan, will be built between the two existing viaducts, thus expanding road capacity. It is about 30 percent complete and is targeted to welcome motorists by November next year.
The San Fernando road widening project, meanwhile, is slated for construction in the first quarter of 2024 and will take about two years to complete.
NLEx Corp. has submitted the proposal to the TRB.
IPO with San Miguel
Along with this, the tollway company is also awaiting the acquisition of up to 95 percent of right-of-way for its P1.3-billion Segment 8.2 project—an 8.30-km expressway passing through Mindanao Avenue, Quirino Highway, Regalado Avenue and Congressional Avenue—before starting construction. The progress is currently at 68 percent.
MPTC is currently reviewing a potential initial public offering (IPO) of toll road operations with San Miguel Corp. by 2025.
Rogelio Singson, MPTC president and CEO, recently told reporters that their toll road unit needed to raise as much as P45 billion in fresh funding to trim its debt level.
Other MPTC-operated toll roads include the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, the Manila-Cavite Expressway, the Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway, and the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway.