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BRAZIL: Outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro has approved changes to railway legislation aimed at encouraging greater private sector investment in new railway projects.

A Decree updating the Railway Law passed in December 2021 was published in the Official Gazette on October 24, having been signed by Bolsonaro three days earlier.

The Railway Law was designed to facilitate private investment in railway projects, by setting out the administrative processes to be followed when launching new projects. The Decree introduces additional rules specifying the criteria and conditions that apply when the private sector proposes to build new lines or reopen closed routes.


According to the presidential secretariat, ‘the measure covers the conditions for qualification and performance’ of investors. It also kicks off the Railway Development Programme, which aims ‘to work with the productive sector to prioritise planning, supervision and supply of rail segments; to promote private investment in the railway sector through grants; and to support and encourage technological development, preservation of railway heritage, competitiveness, innovation, safety, environmental protection, energy efficiency and the quality of rail transport service’.

The legislative changes are expected to promote expansion of the national rail network, leading over time to the resumption of economic growth and job creation.

Pro Trilhos map

In the first year after launching the Pro Trilhos programme on September 2 2021 the federal government received 89 proposals for railway projects from 39 private sector bidders. Were all the projects to go ahead, nearly 22 250 km of railway would be added to the national network under a programme worth R$258bn.