Brazil to split bidding for high-speed rail project

July 12, 2011 | 08:20
Brazilian officials said Monday that they would hold two separate bids for a high-speed rail line between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, a project worth some $18 billion.

The construction plan, one of the country's most ambitious, calls for the rail link to be operating by 2016, when Brazil will host the Olympic games.

The new train is set to travel some 500 kilometers (300 miles) between the two cities in around one hour and a half for a cost of 200 reals ($125) in economy class.

The system aims to accommodate an anticipated mass influx of visitors for the Olympics and to relieve pressure on Brazil's overcrowded airports.

Bidding on the new line has already been postponed twice, in November 2010 and in April, at the request of the various consortiums and Brazil's National Agency of Terrestrial Transports, known as ANTT.

On Tuesday the ANTT said officials decided to split the bidding process in two, in an effort to get construction under way as soon as possible.

The first bidding phase will be for the project's core and technology. The second phase will be for the infrastructure made necessary by the technology that ends up chosen, officials said.

With the bidding split, work may be getting under way by late next year, said ANTT chief Bernardo Figueireido.

Bidders are expected to include France's Alstom and a Japanese consortium. There may be other bidders from Italy, Germany, Spain, China and South Korea, according to ANTT.

Earlier, Brazil's biggest public works companies, which would handle much of the construction and logistics with any international partners, had told the government they would not be bidding on Monday.

Despite the resignation last week of the country's transportation minister on corruption allegations, the government of President Dilma Rousseff has continued with the bidding process, moving to the two-track bidding plan.

AFP

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