Setting its budget for 2006-11, the Austrian government has allocated record development funding to ÖBB Infrastruktur Bau AG. €1·55bn will be invested in 2006, with €1·3 to €1·5bn in later years. An allocation of €100m for special projects this year includes €20m for planning the Semmering base tunnel.

Feasibility studies have been undertaken for a 102 km railway between Yapacaní and Ivirgarzama in central Bolivia. Costed at US$38m, the line would link agricultural areas in Cochabamba with the Oriental rail network.

The Indonesian government is expected to call bids this month for construction of the US$111m rail link between Manggarai and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Further investment in the Jakarta suburban network this year will see the purchase of 160 second-hand EMUs from Japan; pending the delivery of new trains next year under a 140bn rupiah contract awarded to PT Inka.

Sri Lanka’s Railway Development Minister Mahinda Amaweera announced on December 30 that the government is looking at proposals to develop a metro network in Colombo, serving the suburbs of Narahenpita, Borella, Orugodawatte, Bambalapitiya, Wellawatte and Kirulapone. Consultants have been invited to undertake a feasibility study.

Mexico City transport department Setravi has commissioned studies for a 12th metro route to serve the southern part of the conurbation. The new route is intended to relieve the existing Tasqueña - Xochimilco light rail line.

The Chilean government and state railway EFE have been considering means to restore service on the Arica - La Paz Railway, where operations have been suspended since November as the current concessionaire seeks to declare the company bankrupt. It was suggested that operations could resume in March, although Antofagasta Holdings was reported to be interested in the route which connects with its Andina Railway concession in Bolivia.

RFF President Michel Boyon has confirmed 2009 as the target for reopening the first section of the Nantes - Châteaubriant route for commuter traffic, covering the 27 km to Niort-sur-Erdre. Pays de la Loire region is planning to fund the acquisition of tram-trains for €24·5m (RG 6.05 p306).

The African Development Bank confirmed in early January that prequalified international consultants had been invited to bid for a US$2·6m feasibility study into a proposed rail link to Rwanda and Burundi. The 450 km line would run from Tanzania’s metre-gauge network at Isaka to the Rwandan capital Kigali, with a 200 km branch to Bujumbura.