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Economy

Work begins on first subway in congested Manila

But contractors say Philippine goal of completing line in 6 years is unrealistic

Motorists drive through a heavy traffic flow near a passing metro train along the main highway EDSA in Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines.   © Reuters

MANILA -- Ground was broken Wednesday on the first subway line in congestion-ridden Metro Manila, but contractors said the Philippine government's time-frame for construction was wildly optimistic.

As part of President Rodrigo Duterte's infrastructure push, the Philippines has set a target of finishing the 36-kilometer, 18-station line in six years. The hope is the subway will improve the commuting experience in the capital, where traffic jams are incessant and more than 12 million people have only four train lines spanning just over 70 kilometers.

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