Road transport projects for the fiscal year 2022 will require a hefty P19.8 billion budget, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.
The agency’s proposal came after seeing the lack of allotted funds for the sector, which only received P1 million under the 2022 National Expenditure Program or NEP.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade sought the lawmakers help in terms of their request as such will be beneficial for the commuting public, especially during this time of crisis.
“We agree that there should be more funds allotted for the road sector. P1 million will not be enough to fund it,” Tugade explained during the virtual budget hearing with the Senate Committee on Finance on Thursday.
Bulk or P10 billion of the P13.2 billion local road projects was allotted for Service Contracting Program, followed by Active Transportation Infrastructure and related programs with P1.5 billion and the public utility vehicles modernization program with P800.71 million.
Other allocations in the list were the EDSA Busway Project (P427.97 million), Makati-BGC Greenways (P125.91 million) and the feasibility for Ilocos Norte transport hub (P40 million) among others.
While at it, Transportation Undersecretary Timothy John Batan clarified that the DOTr didn’t request funding for the rail sector alone, but also for the Department’s other sectors as well.
“It is not true that DOTr only proposed funding for the rail sector. As explained by Secretary Tugade, we proposed funding for all of DOTr’s four sectors, including projects in the road, maritime, aviation and railway sectors,” Batan said.
“It just so happened that most of the funding approved by the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) are for railway sector projects,” he added.
Still, the DOTr chief reiterated that the higher funding proposed for the railway sector will be used to plug the gap created by decades of underinvestment for the sector.
The World Bank earlier revealed in its survey that the Philippines ranked at the bottom of the list of 119 countries surveyed in terms of length of operational railways infrastructure.