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|April 30th, 2007, 08:06 AM||#1|
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BRAZIL | High Speed Rail
Brazil mulls high-speed rail linking Rio and Sao Paulo
26 April 2007
SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) - Brazil has approved feasibility studies for a proposed US$9 billion (€6.6 billion) bullet train linking its two largest cities.
Approval for the studies was granted Wednesday by the federal accounting court, Justice Augusto Nardes said in a statement.
Brazil's scattered railroads now are devoted almost exclusively to cargo, forcing passengers to choose between expensive air travel or precarious highways.
The bullet train would run mostly underground and would cover the 400-kilometer (250-mile) trip between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in an hour and a half at a cost about US$60 (€45) each way, O Globo newspaper reported.
A flight between the two cities takes about 45 minutes and costs about US$100 (€75). At peak hours, demand is so high that air shuttles take off every five to 10 minutes.
Three South Korean companies and one from Italy have expressed interest in bidding, which could begin in the next 90 days, O Globo said. Construction is expected to take seven years.
French train maker Alstom has also expressed interest, the Agencia Estado news service reported earlier this month.
High-speed service could eventually be extended to Belo Horizonte in the north and Curitiba in the south, O Globo said.
A bullet-train link between Rio and Sao Paulo has been discussed for decades, but never reached an advanced planning stage. The two cities have a combined population of almost 30 million people.