The French government will fund a financial feasibility study on how to implement the Damascus metro project on a public-private partnership (PPP) or build, operate, transfer (BOT) basis.

The government will fund the study through its FASEP (Fonds d’Aide au Secteur Prive) loan, which is aimed at supporting the private sector, says a source at the Damascus Governorate.

The metro project has been delayed due to a lack of financing. The financial feasibility study is expected to help speed up development.

In September 2010, the Higher Economic Committee, part of the Damascus governorate, finished reviewing the recommendations of how to finance the next part of the project (MEED 14:9:10). It also finished its review of the feasibility study of the Green line, which is the first line that will be built.

France’s Systra carried out the feasibility study between 2007 and 2009. This feasibility study was funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and involved deciding the alignment for the Green line, where to build the stations and how to finance the project.

The Green line will be 16.5km and will run southwest-northeast across Damascus from Moadamiyeh to Qaboun. It will have 17 stations. The Green line is the first of four lines that will comprise an eventual 52km metro network around the city. Syria is also planning a $1bn railway network that will cover the whole country eventually connecting Syria with Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.