Brazil's Rio-Sao Paulo-Campinas bullet train project could end up costing at least 40bn reais (US$24bn), the president of Sao Paulo's association of public works contractors (Apeop) Luciano Amadio Filho told BNamericas.
Apeop and a group of companies interested in building the high-speed train are planning to present a study to the federal government by the end of February, questioning the price of the project.
The group includes engineering firms such as Cartellone, Barbosa Mello, Encalso, Tejofran, CCI, Enterpa, Equipav, Aterpa, Cerpal, Estrutural, Construbase and Azevedo & Travessos. Apeop is also in talks with Spanish and French firms interested in joining the group.
The study, carried out by consultancy firm Deloitte in association with Apeop, reveals that the project could cost 30-40% more than the 33.1bn reais stipulated in the tender, according to Amadio Filho.
The report also calls into question the projected passenger demand of the project, which has been "overrated," Amadio Filho said. The group estimates demand could be up to 50% less than projected by the government.
The group has scheduled a meeting with national development bank BNDES in February to discuss the financial aspects of the bullet train. It is also in close contact with national ground transport agency ANTT, which is overseeing the tender.
Despite technical and financial concerns about the project, the Apeop president reiterated the association's support for the bullet train, adding that the country "cannot do without" a new means of transportation.
The train project involves building a 511km railroad, including 90.9km of tunnels and 103km of bridges and overpasses. ANTT will receive bids on April 11 and is due to award the project on April 29.