Amman says it will tender the $333m Amman-Zarqa light rail project later this year despite the delays in deciding a transaction structure.

“The government of Jordan still considers Amman-Zarqa light rail project as a priority project and expected to be tendered this year,” says a spokesman for the Transport Ministry.

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 IFC is the transaction consultant on the project and remains in talks with the Jordanian government over how the project will be financed.

“The transaction advisor is still working on preparing the financial structure and structure options, which are considered strictly confidential and will be disclosed when the government decides to adopt one of these options,” says the Transport Ministry spokesman.

If the financing structure and feasibility study had been concluded in March as originally planned, 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).