RIO DE JANEIRO state governor Anthony Garotinho has released funding for preliminary work on the city’s planned metro Line 6. The grant will enable the state transport ministry to call tenders shortly for consultants to undertake technical and economic feasibility studies based on preliminary engineering design work. Estimated cost of the study is around R$5m.

Line 6 will connect the International Airport on Ilha do Governador with Barra da Tijuca. Transport Secretary Luiz Alfredo Salomão hopes that it will be possible to start construction of the line by the second quarter of this year. The work is expected to cost around R$2bn, with the majority of the 22 km line to be at ground level or elevated. Construction of Line 6 was identified as a priority project in the state’s 2001 budget, which was approved last October.

The route will serve the northern and eastern parts of the city, including the districts of Leopoldina and Baixada. It will interchange with Line 2 and several suburban corridors operated by Flumitrens.

Meanwhile, the city government’s metro management arm called bids in December for construction of the privately-financed Line 3, linking Niteroi and São Gonçalo. Tenders are due by March 12.