UPDATE 1-Brazil sweetens terms for Rio-Sao Paulo bullet train

Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:01pm EST
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* Train projected to cost $17 billion

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

* Builder to be chosen separately in 2014

By Anthony Boadle

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 mile per hour) 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 technology and the trains for it, and operate it on a 40-year concession.

"It's a way of sharing the risk with the investor and making the project more attractive," Figueiredo told a news conference.

The winner must invest an estimated 7.7 billion reais ($3.7 billion), offer economy class tickets of no more than 200 reais ($100) and guarantee that trains cover the 260 miles (420 km) between Rio and Sao Paulo in no more than 99 minutes.   Continued...