Mexico’s government has picked a Chinese-led consortium to build the first bullet train in Latin America after the group was the only bidder for the Mexico City-Queretaro project.
The transport ministry said it had accepted the $US3.75 billion ($A4.06 billion) proposal by China Railway Construction Corp for the 210-kilometre railway between the capital and the central Mexico manufacturing hub of Queretaro.
The project is part of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s decision to bring back passenger trains, which all but disappeared more than a decade ago, except for some tourist lines.
“In a country with 120 million inhabitants, where the main urban centers are large metropolises, passenger transport must be of massive scale,” Transport Minister Gerardo Ruiz Esparza told a news conference.
The project aims to carry 23,000 passengers per day at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour, reducing the commute between Mexico City and Queretaro from two-and-a-half hours to 58 minutes, officials say.
The Chinese-led consortium, which includes Mexican firms, was the only one to make a proposal by the October 15 deadline. The group said the project would cost $US3.75 billion pre-tax and $US4.3 billion with the value-added tax included.
The transport ministry said at the time that 16 companies decided against making a proposal, including industry giants Mitsubishi of Japan, Alstom of France, Bombardier of Canada and Siemens of Germany.
The government has said it expects construction to start in December and operations to begin in 2017.