Saudi Arabia is pursuing public private partnerships for the construction and operation of metro projects in Makkah, Jeddah, Damman and Madinah, the president of the Saudi Railways Organisation has confirmed.
Speaking on stage at Middle East Rail in Dubai, HE Rumaih Mohammed Al-Rumaih revealed the plans saying negotiations for the Makkah metro were underway.
“We are negotiating probably PPP involvement, the same thing applies for Jeddah, Damman and Madinah,” he said.
The official also indicated a PPP could be utilised for the proposed $7bn Landbridge project connecting Jeddah and Riyadh. The government previously opted to build the line itself in 2011 after a financial agreement with a consortium was not achieved but there has been little progress.
The plans come as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf economies continue to face economic difficulties due to low oil prices.
PPPs allow governments to implement infrastructure projects without bearing the full cost burden.
The public private partnership model is also being used for the extension of the red metro line in Dubai to the Expo 2020 site.
In other updates, Al-Rumaih confirmed that the $14bn Haramain high speed line connecting Makkah and Madinah was expected to be completed this year and would begin operations next year.
The Riyadh metro, the only metro currently under construction, is now 48 per cent complete and will be finished in two years time, he said.
Saudi Arabia also recently awarded a bus tender in Makkah.