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The signing Monday of an agreement between Guatemala's finance ministry, public-private partnership promotion agency Anadie, and the municipal government of capital Guatemala City is a decisive step forward for the Metro Riel light rail project.
With the agreement, also signed by representatives of state railway company Fegua and rail transportation services firm Ferrovías, key administrative procedures such as transferring the relevant rights-of-way can now advance.
Based on information from Anadie, other pre-investment procedures such as evaluations on tender options, and economic and social impact, have also been concluded.
Construction of the rail will be developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) model as tender requirements and overall financing structure have reportedly already being drafted.
Launch of a pre-qualification process for international companies interested in a future tender is expected for September.
A tender will likely be launched next year, so that it can be submitted to congress for approval once a private investor has been chosen.
The Metro Riel entails the construction of a light rail passenger system that will run from Guatemala City's Centra Norte and Centra Sur regions to the city center.
The line will be 42km long, with the train running at a maximum speed of 70km/h, completing the entire route in about 40 minutes.
Based on the feasibility study, the train will have capacity to move over 250,000 passengers a day. Construction will require investments of around US$770mn.
With the rail, city authorities hope to reduce average travel time to and from the center, alleviate congestion and connect the Metro Riel to the existing BRT system and other public transport options in the capital.
The line will comprise five stretches: Conexión Sur, Conexión Atanasio Tzul, Estación Central, Centro Histórico, and Conexicón Norte.
Although the train will use some of the existing railways, it is expected that some viaducts will also be built to avoid dangerous crossings. Therefore, some homes along the route will have to be relocated.
PICTURED: Guatemalan officials, including finance minister Julio Héctor Estrada and Anadie head Roberto Sagastume, at the signing ceremony for the agreement. CREDIT: Roberto Sagastume's Twitter account.