Public-private efforts resurrect US$635mn Santiago-Valparaiso train

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chile's private sector and region V authorities are joining forces to complete construction of a high-speed train linking port city Valparaiso to capital Santiago within the next four years, an official from Valparaiso's municipality told BNamericas.

The private initiative was submitted to the public works ministry (MOP) by the firm Inversiones Privadas, headed by Spanish citizens Jose Antonio Garcia-Aranzaes and Benedicto Garcia de Mateos Alonso, and was declared of public interest on February 15.

At the time, authorities planned to launch a tender to build the train in 2011 at the latest. However, plans changed 12 days later, when central southern Chile was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, putting all new infrastructure projects on hold.

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Members of the national college of engineers and representatives of the Valparaiso municipality and region V government have already met to discuss the project, which will be presented at a seminar to be held in October.

The public-private sector representatives also plan on lobbying MOP and the transport and telecommunications ministry (MTT) to have the initiative brought forward, so the train can be concessioned during President Sebastian Piñera's 4-year term, the official said.

Requiring an estimated US$635mn investment, the project involves a high-speed train to transport cargo and passengers between the capital and Valparaiso city in 50 minutes.

The line will also connect the districts of Viña del Mar, Quilpue, Villa Alemana, Limache, Quintero, Olmue, Til-Til, Lampa, Quilicura and Quinta Normal, as well as Ventanas through an extension.