MEETING on July 11, the Spanish cabinet approved bids from four consortia seeking pre-qualification for the concession to build and operate the 45 km route from Figueres to Perpignan in France. A second tender was issued after the intergovernmental commission announced on April 16 that no further progress could be made in negotiations with preferred bidder Euroferro (RG 6.03 p344).

The four groups in the new competition (right) now have until October 7 to present their bids for the project, which is expected to cost €714m. Three consortia from the private sector will be bidding against Ferromed, which includes state-owned railway infrastructure authorities RFF of France and GIF of Spain.

Spanish and French ministers had discussed the project in Paris on July 3, together with other trans-Pyrenean links. It was agreed to commission further studies on the central Zaragoza - Pau crossing, where the Spanish government has proposed a mixed road/rail concession or a single rail concession to provide the €300m necessary to re-open the French section of the route (RG 3.03 p116). At their next summit to be held before the end of the year, ministers will decide if a proposed high speed link between Vitoria and Dax will also be taken forward on a concession basis.

n Ferrovial Concesión, Vinci Concesión, Ferrovial-Agrom