BRAZIL: Legislation setting out a new regulatory framework for railway concessions and simplifying the approval of new rail projects was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on December 14.
Intended to facilitate the expansion of the country’s rail network by allowing private companies to design, build and operate new lines, Bill 3754/21 was passed without changes from those made in the Senate. It is now being sent to President Jair Bolsonaro for signature.
Welcoming the vote, Minister of Infrastructure Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas commented that ‘we are breaking the chain that held back private investment in railways’. He added that the private sector would now be able to undertake projects that would reduce the cost of freight transport as well as generating employment and income. At the same time, investors would benefit from the security provided by the new legal framework.
The railway legislation was first submitted to the Brazilian parliament in 2018, but the bill encountered many delays before it was eventually passed by the Senate in early October. It was allocated urgent status in the Chamber of Deputies on November 24, enabling it to be dealt with in a plenary session.
In the meantime, temporary legislation put in place by President Bolsanaro in August has allowed the government to press ahead with plans to encourage private companies to invest in rail projects under the ‘Pro Trilhos’ initiative. By the start of December no fewer than 36 proposals requiring a total investment of R$150bn had been submitted to the Ministry of Infrastructure, and nine of these have already been approved. The government is aiming to increase rail’s share of freight transport from 20% currently to 40% by 2035.
- Read more about Brazil’s Pro Trilhos railway expansion initiative in the January 2022 issue of Railway Gazette International magazine.