The integration of NLEX and SCTEX made business and travel in Central Luzon better, with increase in economic activities and tourist arrivals in the region.

This was the assessment of Angeles Mayor and Central Luzon Regional Development Council Chairman Edgardo Pamintuan who attributed the region’s strong economic growth to infrastructure developments that greatly benefited the public such as the integration of NLEX and SCTEX.

“Being the first integration among expressways in the country, the NLEX-SCTEX Integration Project was transformative in many ways. It paved the way for improved mobility of people, goods, and services. It meant savings in time and vehicle operating costs,” he said.

The NLEX-SCTEX Integration Project, which became operational in March 2016, was undertaken by the NLEX Corporation, the concessionaire of both NLEX and SCTEX. The P758-million project, which converted the NLEX and SCTEX toll collection systems into a single system, reduced toll collection stops to two from Balintawak to Subic or Tarlac. It also introduced at SCTEX electronic toll collection through Easytrip, which enabled faster transactions in SCTEX toll plazas.

Based on the recent data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Central Luzon remains to be one of the country’s fastest growing economies after it posted a positive 9.5 percent growth in the country’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in 2016. The figure is higher compared to the region’s 5.3 percent GRDP in 2015.

In terms of visitor arrivals, a similar uptrend was seen by the Department of Tourism-Region 3 as data showed 4.1 million arrivals for 2016 with Subic and Clark topping the list of destinations. In 2015, Region 3 ranked 4th in terms of arrivals among the 14 regional destinations in the country.

Tourism Region 3 Director Ronaldo Tiotuico highlighted that mobility improvements have been a game-changer for countryside development. “Industrial centers are booming now in the region particularly in Subic, Bataan, and Tarlac. Easier travel to and from the Central Luzon provinces is a come-on for businessmen and tourists alike,” Tiotuico added.

For frequent north travelers like Victory Liner Treasury and Marketing Head Marivic Del Pilar, using the unified NLEX-SCTEX has always been a viable option, because it has not only lessened the number of toll booths motorists have to deal with, it also has speeded up the travel time to several tourist attractions in the north. NLEX-SCTEX has been a hassle-free and accessible way to provinces in northern and central Luzon.

NLEX Corporation President and CEO Rodrigo Franco acknowledges that the region’s accelerated economy is due to the collective efforts of different sectors such as manufacturing, agricultural, tourism, transportation and the like. According to Franco, NLEX Corporation will steadily facilitate travel convenience and contribute to a more stable regional economy as the company continues to develop quality transport infrastructures and provide services that boost trade and commerce.

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