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Private sector investment in Colombia's transport infrastructure reached 1.47tn pesos (US$508mn) between January and March, up 37.3% compared to the same quarter of 2016, infrastructure agency ANI reported.
Most of the increase was in highway projects, which recorded investments of 1.2tn pesos, up 42% from last year, according to the official data.
ANI president Luis Andrade stated that the fourth generation (4G) highway program was the main contributor to this increase in private investment.
"If we maintain this trend, we expect to surpass our investment goal of 7.8tn pesos for 2017. This is the year of construction, the 4G [highways] are setting the pace of the economy and with that we are contributing to the country's dynamism," Andrade said in an ANI release.
Meanwhile, the indicator of investment in civil works (IIOC) was up 3.3% in the first quarter, according to figures from national statistics bureau DANE. This growth was due partly to significant private sector investments in the highway projects, as stated by ANI, which offset the drop in investment in the mining and energy sector.
During the first quarter, the ANI opened the first functional unit of the 4G highways; a 52km stretch of rehabilitated road between La Pintana and Primavera in Antioquia department that is part of the 1.2tn-peso Pacífico 2 highway contract.
The ANI also advanced on other projects. Works advanced on the Pacífico 3 highway, which has involves an investment of 1.86tn pesos, and it is expected to be finished by the last quarter of 2017.
Meanwhile, excavation works have begun on a new tunnel that will be part of the Bogotá-Villavicencio highway.
The ANI has estimated that private investment in the 4G program will reach 5.5tn pesos in 2017, with total private investment in roads at 7.2tn pesos.