Brazil sweetens terms for Rio-Sao Paulo bullet train

Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:03pm EST
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* Train projected to cost $17 billion

* New auction to operate train be held in Sept. 2013

* Builder to be chosen separately in 2014

BRASILIA, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Brazil set more attractive and less risky terms on Thursday to attract international bids to operate a high-speed train between its two biggest cities after an attempt last year found no takers.

The planned 350 km per hour (217 mph) bullet train will run between Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and the fast-growing adjacent city of Campinas by 2020, said Bernardo Figueiredo, head of the government agency in charge of infrastructure projects.

The government will shoulder more of the risk by raising to 45 percent from 30 percent the public stake in the consortium that will design the high-speed system, provide the trains for it, and operate it on a 40-year concession.

The winner must invest 7.7 billion reais ($3.7 billion), offer economy class tickets of no more than 200 reais and guarantee that trains cover the 260 miles (420 km) between Rio and Sao Paulo in no more than 99 minutes.

To qualify to bid, companies cannot have had a fatal accident on an existing high-speed system they operate in the past five years. That's down from the 10 years required earlier.

The new auction to pick the operating consortium will be held on Sept. 9, 2013, at the Sao Paulo stock exchange Bovespa.   Continued...