Peru accelerating railway, water projects

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Peru's government is looking to speed up railway and water infrastructure projects, particularly the US$20bn bi-oceanic railway project from Brazil, according to senior officials.

The country is willing to conduct joint studies with neighbor Bolivia on the bi-oceanic railway, according to transport and communications minister Martín Vizcarra. Peru will also work to improve its port services, Vizcarra added during a visit to the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz.

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Transportation officials in Peru are currently evaluating the option of including Bolivia and they are seeking to kick off feasibility studies soon, according to Bolivian state news agency ABI.

The original route, which involves Chinese government funding and planning support through the Hsin Chong Construction Group, did not include the stretch through Bolivia. The 3,800km railway project, which is designed to link Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, also has backing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

INITIAL STRETCHES

Brazil's part alone could cost up to 40bn reais (US$12.5bn). Brazil's state-run logistics and planning group EPL is partnering with the transport ministry and federal rail company Valec to accomplish the work.

The first stretch being planned spans 900km between the cities of Campinorte (Goiás state) and Lucas do Rio Verde (Mato Grosso state). The second stretch spans 647km from Lucas do Rio Verde to the city of Vilhena in Rondônia state, and section three is being planned from Vilhena to Rondônia capital Porto Velho.

These stretches are budgeted at 7bn reais, 4.7bn reais, and 6bn reais, respectively.

trajectory of Brazil-Peru bioceanic railway (CREDIT: Brazil's government).

​Both Peru and Bolivia lost land to Chile during the 1879 War of the Pacific, when Bolivia became landlocked. Bolivia has been pressuring to regain its maritime access ever since.

President Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski, who took office July 28, has pledged to eliminate all bureaucratic obstacles to US$25bn in delayed infrastructure projects, including railways, roads, airports and ports. He also announced plans to install connections for water services for 100% of the population by 2023.

WATER

The Peruvian government also plans to nearly triple its 2017 budget for potable water and sewerage projects in rural areas to 1.40bn soles (US$412mn), housing and construction minister Edmer Trujillo said.

The ministry set a total 6.78bn-sol budget for next year, an increase of 41%, Trujillo told a congress budget committee in a presentation. Of that amount, 5.0bn soles will be allocated to water and sewerage, while 1.639bn soles will go to housing and urban development, he said.

Daniel Bland contributed to this story.