Abu Dhabi plans to spend a minimum of AED250bn ($68bn) on public transport, said John Lee, highways and transport adviser at the emirate’s Department of Transport (highways) during MEED’s Abu Dhabi conference on 10 November.

The projects include a 130-kilometre high-speed urban metro, 340km tram routes and 1,500km of road improvements.

One-third of the expenditure will go towards the high-speed rail, one-third on roads, ferries and buses, and the remainder on a tram scheme.

Officials have already tendered for consultancy contracts to design the tram and metro systems.

The Department of Transport also plans to introduce parking and congestion charges.

Lee said he expected the emirate to spend the bulk of the AED250bn up to 2017.

The Department of Transport plans to award a AED10bn project to build the Mafraq-Ghweifat highway under a public-private partnership (PPP), the first of its kind in the Middle East’s transport sector.

The success or failure of the PPP model for the highway will determine the future of other planned projects in the country.