Chile outlines upcoming infra concessions

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Chile's public works ministry (MOP) has outlined its concessions agenda for the coming months prior to the new government assuming power, which will take place next March.

During a press conference organized by concessionaires' group Copsa, public works minister Alberto Undurraga said that his ministry plans to have tendered 10 infrastructure projects by the end of the current government term, with bidding documents already having been published for five of them: the Bicentenario Cable Car, the Rutas del Loa road concession, the Camino de la Fruta road concession, the Las Palmas water reservoir and the road corridor connecting the Ruta 68 highway and the Autopista del Sol highway.

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The tender terms for two other projects are still being reviewed by the country's comptroller and are expected to be published this month: the Catemu water reservoir and the expansion of El Tepual airport in Puerto Montt.

Lastly, the bidding documents for three projects are being reviewed by the MOP's budget division: the Los Ángeles reservoir, the Farellones road and the Ruta 5 Santiago-Los Vilos highway.

Undurraga stated that the total estimated value of these 10 projects is US$2.7bn.

On the legislative front, Undurraga said that the bill creating a new concessions agency is close to being approved by the senate, while the bill to creates a US$9bn infrastructure fund has now gone to the lower house of congress after being passed by the senate, and it is expected it to be fully approved by the end of the year.

The official praised the role of the concession system in the development of the country's infrastructure, particularly though the use of public-private partnerships.

"They make investments possible that the state wouldn't be able to make otherwise," he said, adding that concessions mean that MOP resources can be saved for other public works.

At the same instance, Copsa head Leonardo Danieri told BNamericas that concessions "bring benefits to many people, while also affecting a few, but we can't ignore the benefits just because of the few," citing the need to avoid disputes with communities during the early stages of infrastructure projects, pointing to the legal action presented against the Bicentenario cable car in Santiago.