Funding structure delay holds up Amman-Zarqa light rail

17 March 2010

Consultant now expects the decision on feasibility study to be made in the second half of 2010

Construction work on Jordan’s $333m Amman-Zarqa light railway network will be delayed because a decision on the project’s financing structure has not been completed.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the Washington-based World Bank, was due to make a decision on the scheme’s financing structure in March but this decision has been delayed due the project’s feasibility study taking longer than expected (MEED 18:1:10).

“The project is currently somewhat delayed and IFC will not be making a transaction structure recommendation in March,” says a source involved with the project.

The reason for the delay is unclear but the earliest a decision might be made for the project to move forward is July, the source says.

If the financing structure and feasibility study were concluded in March, construction would have been able to start in January 2011. The start date is now expected to be pushed back.

Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners) has already completed the preliminary design work for the railway project.

The light railway involves the construction of a 28-kilometre dual-track railway that will run from Raghadan station in Amman to Zarqa, the country’s second largest city to the northeast of the capital.

The project has been on hold since April 2009 when the ministry decided to restructure the scheme after terminating the contract of a winning consortium for the second time (MEED 9:4:09).

If it does go ahead, the railway will be built as a public procurement scheme.

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