Andhra Pradesh to sign public transport deal with U.S.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008, 11:39 Hrs
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Hyderabad: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) of the U.S. will soon sign a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with the Andhra Pradesh government for strengthening the public transport system in Hyderabad and other major cities in the state.

Under the agreement, the FTA will share its knowledge in public transportation science and technologies with the state government, FTA administrator James S. Simpson said here Saturday after his talks with transport and civic officials of the city.

The FTA has already signed an MoC with the union ministry of urban development.

An FTA delegation, including representatives of various US companies, evinced keen interest in the business opportunities offered by the city, especially the Metro rail project.

The officials showcased Metro rail project before the American business representatives as an attractive investment opportunity and urged them to look at Hyderabad as a serious investment destination.

Hyderabad Metro Rail managing director N.V.S. Reddy told reporters after the meeting that large-scale opportunities available to the US companies in the Metro project, including the massive construction work for 18.5 million square feet of area, were explained to the delegation.

Describing private-public partnership model adopted for the Hyderabad Metro rail project as one of the best and the largest in the world, Simpson said improvement and strengthening of the public transport system was a must to ensure the freedom of movement of people as well as the economic development.

"The traffic congestion in the US cities costs $100 billion a year," he said underlining the economic fallout of the problems of traffic congestion.

Simpson said the public transport system was the only answer to the problem of congestion.

The FTA delegation was impressed when informed about the financial model of the Hyderabad Metro project. The Maytas-led consortium has offered to build the 120 billion ($2.6 billion) project without taking any grant from the government and instead promised to pay a whopping 330 billion to the government over the next 35 years.

Simpson sought the copy of the concession agreement, saying he wants to put it before the international conference on public transport in the US.

The officials told the US delegation that the government was providing 269 acres of urban land to the consortium on 35-year lease for developing Metro facilities as well as real estate.
Source: IANS
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