North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project will help transform Clark as a regional economic hub.
The 147-kilometer infrastructure will have a total of 35 stations from Clark to Calamba.
Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista underscored that NSCR will offer Clark sustained economic opportunities as it will have a Clark International Airport station which will host the first direct airport rail link in the country.
“Clark will be the starting point of the NSCR. Eventually, the line will extend from here to Laoag in the North, to Cagayan in the East, and to Subic in the West. From Clark, this Philippine National Railway [PNR] line will extend from Calamba in Laguna, all the way to Bicol…Expect Clark to remain busy even after the NSCR has been completed,” the cabinet official detailed during the Clark’s Ascent to Regional Hub: A Forum on Infrastructure for Growth.
Once completed, NSCR will shorten travel time from Tutuban to Malolos to about 35 minutes and from Malolos to Clark to about 30-35 minutes.
Travel time from Makati to Clark via airport express will also be shortened to about 55 minutes, and Manila to Calamba will be as short as 1 hour.
With this, Bautista pledged that Department of Transportation (DOTr) will accelerate the development, upgrade, and construction of big-ticket projects including the NSCR to promote growth and better connectivity.
“The completion of the full NSCR line will bring greater convenience for our commuters. It will offer an efficient and comfortable transport alternative that spans a great distance, connecting Pampanga to Manila and then to Laguna,” he said.
He added that the construction of various railway projects is also in line with DOTr’s critical initiative of climate mitigation as trains have almost the same ecological footprint as walking. These emit lower carbon dioxide per kilometer travelled compared to other road-based transport.
Bautista also shared that the construction of NSCR has generated job opportunities for the residents.
“I visited the construction sites of NSCR here in Clark on several occasions. Before the construction begins… we conduct feasibility studies, scout for capable consultants, and scrutinize bidding contractors before contracts are signed,” he added.
Meanwhile, Bautista cited other projects that may usher in a promising era of advanced infrastructure development and sustained economic prosperity not only in Clark but in the whole of Luzon.
He said the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge is a 32-kilometer, four-lane cable-stayed bridge that will be built over Manila Bay, from Mariveles, Bataan to Naic, Cavite.
Bautista furthered that point-to-point bus services in Clark to Manila and other cities in Central and North Luzon also deliver a promising result as these are being replicated in other areas.
“We are shifting focus on public transport in order to maximize use of limited highways. We want private vehicle owners to leave their cars in their garage and instead use trains, buses, taxis, bicycles, motorcycles, taxis, or any other mode of public transport,” he stated.
Bautista is confident that Clark will be able to achieve sustained economic prosperity by recognizing the relevance of improved transport infrastructure. (CLJD/JLDC-PIA 3)