Editorial

Funding the people’s needs

Railways need government and need subsidies, which this new government is not afraid to provide.

  • 01/25/2017
  • 343

Funding the people’s needs



The P8 trilion promised for nationwide railway developments are a radical departure from previous governments’ perspective in moving people. 

Back then, they concentrated on building tollways. Traffic only moved there though, and the cost of going through a tollway raised the cost of transportation in and out of Metro Manila. 

If you had a bit more money to avoid the traffic you could use the pricier skyway. All told, the cost of using these tollways was more than the frappucinos we will buy at the rest stops.

Of course there is nothing wrong with the business of building and operating tollways. After all, constant repairs and the necessity of safety at high speeds demand an operator with the capital to make sure that these are maintained.

Poorer citizens could use the older congested roads, or use the buses that use the faster tollways. They will have to brave through heavier traffic, or pack themselves into the older buses and trains that now constitute the public transport system of this country.

The fact is that the movement and transport of the masses was a business opportunity to be capitalized on. From building and operating these important roadways, profit was an underlying motive aside from the public interest, as private companies obtained franchises to ferry the people.

Yet heavy traffic remained, and more infrastructure meant more money for those who wanted to operate the new tollways needed to serve public needs.

Unfortunately, the past government did little to work on the Philippine National Railways, an old, virtually neglected government corporation after the Bicol express was cancelled during the Arroyo administration following an accident. Only the commuter lines remained, and expectedly, were packed to their rafters. Who said the people didn't like trains?

Railways are a convenient and affordable means of transport for the masses, but do not seem to be a lucrative proposition for private business. After all, are there profitable public railways anywhere in the world?

Railways need government and need subsidies, which this new government is not afraid to provide, unlike its predecessor. After all, if it is able to commit available cash to fund these endeavors, the people  that brought it to power deserve decent railways to make their daily commutes a bit faster, and their lives a little easier.

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