need for environmentally sustainable transport technologies that could ease air pollution and traffic congestion.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DOST and the City Government of Baguio was signed on December 16, 2013 to formalize the conduct of the pre-feasibility study for the project. In CY 2014, the DOST-CAR funded the conduct of the pre-feasibility study of the AGT in Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet, the report of which was submitted by the TPPI to the DOST in October 2015.

TPPI reports that the volume of ridership was analyzed and projected based on the three (3) implementation scenarios namely the Baguio Central Business District (CBD) line with a total length of 2.1kms; the Baguio- La Trinidad line with a total length of 5.4kms; and both lines combined. Based on passenger demand, particularly boarding/alighting volumes of jeepney passengers, land use characteristics and road network configuration, Baguio CBD line will have 5 stations excluding the terminals while the Baguio-La Trinidad line will have 6 stations. The report also states that of the 4 projected fare structures, the fare level of PhP6.00 + PhP1.00/km would generate the highest income. Interestingly, this fare level is the cheapest projected fare compared to the other projected base fare of PhP7.00, PhP8.00, and PhP9.00.

In terms of the infrastructure requirement, an elevated structure will provide the travel way of the carriers while stations and terminals will address the needed facilities for the loading/unloading of passengers. A depot was recommended for carriers’ storage when not in operation as well as for repair and maintenance purposes. Other components of the AGT system must also be considered such as the electro-mechanical equipment and operation-related technologies.

This project will entail a total investment cost of PhP3.831.93 billion for the Baguio CBD line; PhP2.966.21 billion for the Baguio-La Trinidad line; and PhP6.798.14 billion for both lines combined. The computed investment cost was based on the PhP 6+ PhP1/km fare level, using the standard revenue-cost technique, where the financial viability indicator used is the Financial Internal Rate of Return (FIRR). Meanwhile, annual operating and maintenance costs are assumed at 2% of the initial investment cost. Annual revenue forecasts from 2020 to 2045 was estimated by projecting the year 2020 revenues using the abovementioned fare level. Results show that the Baguio CBD line has an estimated 12.58% revenue; Baguio-La Trinidad line at 7.0%; and both lines combined at 11.78%. Based on the resulting FIRRs, the Baguio-La Trinidad line is almost financially feasible while both the Baguio CBD line and combining both lines are financially feasible.

Similarly, using the Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR), the NEDA standard indicator of economic viability shows that the 3 scenarios are economically feasible. Consequently, the study states that “the AGT involving two lines, namely Baguio CBD and Baguio La Trinidad, is both financially and economically viable. The proposed system can generate a substantial passenger ridership which can justify its implementation and operation.”

In terms of environment issues, the study has presented mitigation measures needed for the full implementation of the project. Results also support DOST’s stand on the technology being environmentally sustainable, citing that one of the major environmental impacts of the project is the “reduction of greenhouse gas emission because the AGT rolling stock is electrically operated thus free from harmful emissions and due to the reduced vehicle-kilometers of jeepneys because a considerable quantity of jeepney passengers will be diverted to the AGT lines.” Results show that the reduction of greenhouse gas emission is quantified as 10.2 tons/day in 2020 up to a level of 15.32 tons/day in 2045.

While the proposed AGT system will benefit majority of commuters along the proposed lines, consideration must also be given to the public transport providers, particularly jeepney operators and drivers. Alternative sources of employment and business opportunities for this affected sector must then be addressed by appropriate agencies.

Finally, the study recommends that on the national level, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) should be the lead, being the primary government agency responsible in transportation development. On the local level, the LGUs should take the lead to plan, implement and manage the transportation matters and activities in their respective areas, owing to the provisions of the Local Government Code. With the LGUs as the implementing agencies, there is no need for congressional legislation since they could use their powers on transportation matters and regulatory functions, based on the Local Government Code. The DOST would then focus on the technology of the project and set standards on the installation, operation and maintenance of the AGT system as well as accredit manufacturers and monitor the supply activities to conform to standards.

In terms of the implementation and operation of the project, the option of a full private investment, where a private corporation will invest in both infrastructure, rolling stock and electro-mechanical components is the most practical and convenient.

DOST-CAR has already presented said results to the Sectoral Committee on Economic Development of the RDC-CAR on December 11, 2015 and during the 3rd Quarter BLISTT Meeting conducted by NEDA-CAR on November 12, 2015 at Tuba, Benguet. Meanwhile, it was agreed during the Econ Secom meeting that a resolution will be presented to the RDC Full Council for the creation of a special TWG to take charge of the proposed AGT project. // shai singa-claver