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Official bullet train announcement due April 7 (Brazil)

Brazil's transport ministry will release an official decision regarding the postponement of the April 11 bid deadline for the 33.1bn-real (US$20.7bn) Rio-São Paulo-Campinas bullet train project on April 7, a spokesperson for ground transport agency ANTT confirmed.

The agency has received requests to extend the deadline from companies interested in bidding for the project. Officials said previously that the deadline extension would be for around 90 days.

In related news, Brazil's house of representatives has approved a provisory measure that authorizes the use of federal funds for the project, news service Agência Estado reported.

The measure permits up to 20bn reais in funding through national development bank (BNDES) for the winner of the concession.

The bill also authorizes the creation of a public company to manage the initiative: high-speed public transport authority Etav. Linked to the transport ministry, Etav will be responsible supervising construction of the high-speed rail line, as well as environmental licensing and the planning of future routes.

The final points of the measure will be analyzed by the house before passing to a senate vote next week.

Legislator Carlos Zarattini of the ruling workers' party is pushing for an amendment to the proposal that would increase funding by 2bn reais, based on adjustments to consumer price index INPC.

The bullet train project involves building a 511km railroad, including 90.9km of tunnels and 103km of bridges and overpasses. The train will travel at an average speed of 300-350km/h.

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