The estimated cost for the first phase of the project would be around BD500 million to BD600 million, said Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Kamal Ahmed.
He was addressing MP’s during parliament’s weekly session yesterday.
Initial studies for the massive project began in 2015 and the finalised financial model for the project will be completed by next month and will be referred to the government.
“We have launched a roadshow for the project and we already have had offers from many international companies that are ready to fund this project but we are waiting for approval from the government,” he said.
“In the coming six to eight months we will receive the go-ahead from the government in regard to the financial model which will allow us to work on the specifications and tender papers to launch an international tender within 18 months.
“We have exerted substantial efforts in the preliminary studies to ensure that project doesn’t fall on private land and we have found that the total cost of the expropriation doesn’t exceed BD4.5m which is small in comparison to a project of this magnitude.”
The first phase of the project will focus on a segment running along 29km to 31km out of the total 109km line.
The project will also feature 20 stations across Bahrain and on two lines.
“I want this project to see the light because simply expanding the roads as we have been doing isn’t a solution.
“We have spent more than BD1 billion in the last 10 years on expanding roads and the traffic hasn’t reduced so the metro is the only way forward.”
Mr Ahmed was responding to a question from parliament’s second vice-chairman Ali Al Zayed about the progress of the project.
“We can’t look into options of diversifying our income if we are still struggling with our traffic congestion problem,” he said.
“When tourists visit Bahrain they always ask about the transportation network and continuing to expand our lanes from three or four to seven is just a pain-killer to the situation and not a solution.”
He also highlighted the importance of positioning stations at key and vital locations frequented by many people such as malls, markets and universities, among others.
He also said it was important to launch an extensive awareness campaign to encourage people to switch to public transport.
“When it comes to the private companies that will manage the services we need to ensure that they are up to the standard of service required while also monitoring ticket prices because we want to encourage people to switch from using personal cars to public transport,” he added.
“We are aware that during the construction phase of the project there will be heavier traffic and congestion but we will have to be patient as it will all benefit the kingdom in the future.”
The GDN previously reported that project will be implemented in four phases, and will feature six lines with electric driver-less trains capable of carrying 43,000 passengers per hour to stations spread across the country.