Baghdad Municipality is to fund the entire cost of the $3bn Baghdad metro itself.

The authorities in Baghdad are still reviewing the technical studies for the metro project and the budget for the study.

Firms may be invited to bid for the feasibility study and design of the metro after Ramadan once the technical studies are complete, says a source close to the project.

It is likely to take up to 10 months to complete the design work so construction is not expected to start until the end of 2011.

The authorities in Baghdad are currently reviewing the technical studies for the metro project and the budget for the study is also under negotiation.

Baghdad Municipality says it has shortlisted eight foreign firms for the study and design work, however not all of the firms have confirmed their interest in bidding for the project.

France’s Systra is supervising the project.

The metro will be built in two phases comprising two lines.

The first line of the metro will run 18 kilometres from the predominantly Shi’ite Sadr City in the east through the city centre and then north and will have 20 stations, the source says.

The second line will run 21km starting in the south of the city before crossing the river Tigris and on to the mostly Sunni neighbourhoods in west Baghdad. This line will have 21 stations.

The plans for the metro date back to the late 1970s and had it been built then, it would have been the first urban railway in the Arab world. Instead, the plans were shelved due to Iraq’s 1980-88 war with Iran.