Sunday 2 April 2023

Electric train project remains buried: alternative will await feasibility study

President Chaves affirmed that despite the payment of millions of dollars in studies, there is little information to justify the project

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01 April 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – The electric train project was buried, reported this Wednesday, July 20, by President Rodrigo Chaves, after the meeting of the Governing Council (Cabinet).

The electric train project, costing US$1.55 billion dollars, was proposed by the Carlos Alvarado administration (2018-2022)

Chaves explained that the decision was made after evaluating different scenarios presented by the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), in addition to the fact that, in his opinion, there is no information on the viability of the project.

“We found US$1.4 million dollars in studies and in those studies that were given to a Spanish company – without a tender – there is little to no information to decide if this train project made economic sense,” explained the president.

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The President also confirmed that the decision had already been notified to the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), which was going to provide the US$550 million loan for the project.

“We told them thanks, but no thanks,” said Chaves about the decision he communicated to CABEI.

The electric train project had a cost estimate of US$1.55 billion dollars.

“I do not have the stomach to mortgage the future of the youth of this country with a project that is worth US$1.5 billion in debt and that costs US$150 million a year in subsidies to the operator (…). This whim is buried,” added Chaves.

Chaves also announced the start of studies by the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles (Incofer) – the Costa Rican railway – to develop a ren Rápido de Pasajeros (TRP) – Fast Passenger Train, which will replace what was presented by the former administration.

According to Mario Arce, president of Incofer, it is about the “construction and operation” of line 1 of the previous electric train, which runs from San José to Paraíso de Cartago. It will be called the Rápido de Pasajeros so that it is not confused with the discarded project.

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The alternative is undergoing feasibility studies, so the price estimate for the fast passenger trains project is not yet available, the president said.


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