The bill that proposes an ambitious plan to reactivate the "Presidente Carlos Antonio López" Railroad—one of the emblematic institutions of Paraguay—was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, May 9, thus being passed by the Congress, Now, the bill goes to the Executive Branch for its consideration.
The proposal came from the Executive Branch itself, which, through Ferrocarriles del Paraguay S.A. (FEPASA)—a company of the Paraguayan State that holds the concession for the provision of rail services in the Republic-, has been working on the reinstatement of the railway, whose first section will be under the "commuter train" modality and would transport thousands of Paraguayans every day.
The main characteristics of the reactivation plan, which would be in operation by 2020, would be the following:
• The section would cover about 44 kilometers from the central station in the Uruguayan Square of Asunción to Ypacaraí;
• It would sum up 8 main stations and approximately 12 to 15 stops;
• The trains would be totally electric (non-polluting), and would have only one car with three to four joints;
• It would depart every 5 minutes during rush hours, carrying up to 280 passengers each time.
The railway reinstatement plan would also contemplate relevant social solutions for those currently occupying the old railway track, as well as the protection of the cultural heritage, which is intended to be revaluated.
Regarding investment, the business model would be joint venture or shared risk, as foreseen in Law 117/91. In this way, the government seeks cooperation with private investors in order to cover operating costs, recovering investments throughout a 30-year contract period, as well as a reasonable profit from payments made by users. If that were not enough, they would receive a subsidy from the State for each ticket sold. The process of preselection of interested investors began in 2015 and there are already four groups of companies that have been preselected, although the idea is to attract more investors.