Bahrain is likely to begin work on its long-promised light rail system in the fourth quarter of 2019 as it seeks bids for construction, according to al-Ayam newspaper.
The government may look to the private sector to partially fund the project, which is believed to cost between $1-$2 billion, transport ministry official Abdul Rahman Al Janahi told the Bahraini paper.
The system is part of an integrated public transport plan first revealed by the Bahraini government in 2008. It sought to develop a 29km monorail, a 21km tram network, two light-rail transit lines/metro (32km and 32.7km) and two bus rapid transit routes (33km and 36.5km).
The first phase was due to start in 2009, but was halted due to the financial crisis and budgetary approvals.
Bahrain’s transport infrastructure is one of the key pillars of the country’s $32bn investment plan, designed to upgrade the country’s regional competitiveness.
A large proportion of the capital has been earmarked for a new causeway linking the country to Saudi Arabia and an expansion of its international airport to accommodate 14 million annual passengers.