The P23.9-billion Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union expressway (TPLEx) extension project is expected to secure the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board’s approval by first quarter next year, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
“The project is with NEDA, I think soon we should come out (with the approval)… hopefully first quarter next year,” Mark Villar, DPWH secretary, told reporters recently.
DPWH awarded the original proponent status to San Miguel Corp. (SMC) unit San Miguel Holdings Corp. in December 2018. The project was endorsed to the NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) last August and is still under evaluation.
Once the NEDA-ICC approves the project, this will be forwarded to the NEDA Board headed by President Rodrigo Duterte for final approval. Thereafter, the project will undergo a Swiss challenge to allow other companies to offer a better proposal. The project proponent has the right to match the offer.
The project was initially targeted to secure approval before the end of the year, but it was not included in the list of key projects recently approved by the NEDA Board.
Those approved include land transport projects in Mindanao such as the Davao Public Transport Bus Modernization project and the Samal Island-Davao City Connector project.
The NEDA Board also approved the New Bohol (Panglao) International Airport and the rehabilitation of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, both unsolicited proposals from the private sector; as well as major highways in Bicol Region such as the Pasacao-Balatan Tourism Coastal Highway and the Camarines Sur expressway.
The 100 flagship projects out of the thousands of projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program have a total projected cost of P4.25 trillion. The list covers five categories: transport and mobility, power, water, information and communications technology, and urban development and renewal.
TPLEx extension is a 59.4-kilometer, four-lane toll road which will start from the last exit of TPLEx in Rosario, La Union and will terminate in San Juan, La Union.
The proposal is composed of three segments: 18 km. from Rosario to Tubao, 23 km. from Tubao to Naguilian and 18.4 km. from Naguilian to San Juan.
TPLEx extension aims to promote the development of Northern Luzon and facilitate connectivity to Central Luzon and Metro Manila through high speed mobility and secured access.
SMC through its unit Private Infra Dev Corp. holds the concession for the 88.85-km. TPLEx project that runs from Tarlac City up to Rosario.