RIO DE JANEIRO – The Brazilian government this week will open the bidding process to build a high-speed train line that will link Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, authorities said Monday.
The first step will be the publication on the Internet of the rules for the bidding, which will remain available for public examination for one month.
In January, several public hearings will be held, at the beginning of February the list of definitive conditions for the bidding process will be published and at the end of May the proposals presented by interested firms will be opened and examined.
The chronology was prepared Monday at a meeting among President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and the ministers to be involved in the project, which will require a budget of 34.6 billion reais ($19.44 billion), the state-run Brasil news agency reported.
In selecting the winning bid, Brazilian authorities will be looking not only for the lowest price for the rail line but also for the most favorable conditions regarding technology transfer encompassed within the proposals.
The winning firm or consortium will be responsible for the construction, which will have to be finished in 2015, and will enjoy the concession to run the rail line for 40 years.
The railway will stretch for 510.8 kilometers (317 miles) and will link Rio with Sao Paulo and Campinas. While traversing the route, trains will attain a maximum velocity of 350 kph (217 mph).
At least seven stations will be built along the line, including stops at the respective cities’ international airports.
The line will provide service within a corridor where some 40 million people live – 20 percent of the Brazilian population – and which generates a third of the country’s gross domestic product.
The building of the high-speed railway, which will be the first such transportation system in Latin America, has aroused the interest of firms in Spain, Germany, Japan, China and South Korea, among others.
The project already has suffered assorted delays, and so it will not enter into service before the 2014 soccer World Cup, despite the government’s original intention, but presumably it will be completed before the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. EFE