THE Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said it has completed its feasibility study for the Quezon-Bicol Expressway (QBEx) and is looking to submit the documentation to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) next month.
“DPWH targets to submit the QBEx (study) to NEDA by March,” Alex G. Bote, DPWH Public-Private Partnership (PPP) director, said in a text message on Saturday when asked for updates on the project.
On Wednesday, Mr. Bote told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) Harbor Link Segment 10 inspection that the feasibility study for QBEx has identified a 220-kilometer alignment running from Lucena City to San Fernando, Camarines Sur, which is southwest of Naga City.
DPWH Undersecretary for Planning and PPP Maria Catalina E. Cabral said the DPWH is considering packaging parts of the project as PPPs.
“We will have to see which parts are most viable for PPP treatment. A 220-kilometer project is too long, and we’re not sure the private sector can finance all of it,” she said.
Ms. Cabral noted, however, that the DPWH’s backup plan is to seek funding through the general appropriations act (GAA) or official development assistance (ODA).
“What we could do is obtain local funding for the portions where traffic is low to aid the project’s financial viability,” she said.
“Financing can be a combination of local, ODA or PPP. It will all depend (on NEDA)… What’s important is to start QBEx under this administration,” Ms. Cabral added.
After the DPWH submits the feasibility study, the NEDA will evaluate, determine the cost and give the go signal for the QBEx project. Ms. Cabral said while awaiting NEDA approval, the DPWH will start acquiring right of way. — Denise A. Valdez