JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia gave an early nod to four consortia on Monday, including ones led by Canada’s Bombardier Inc. and French firm Vinci , to build a new metro system in Riyadh to ease congestion on the capital’s gridlocked streets.
State news agency SPA said the pre-qualified consortia were made of 33 companies from 15 countries and included some of the biggest train manufacturers in the world.
The Saudi cabinet approved plans in April to develop a new public transport network in the city within four years that would include both a metro and a new fleet of buses. Consortia for the bus project are being assessed separately.
The Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) gave no cost for the project but metro systems typically cost of billions of dollars to build.
One consortium is led by France’s largest-listed construction and concession’s firm, Vinci and includes Germany’s Siemens, the state news agency said.
A second is led by Canadian firm Bombardier and includes Turkey’s Yapi Merkezi, Spain’s Obrascon Huarte , Korea’s GS Engineering and Construction Corp , and Britain’s Serco.
A third consortium is led by Spain’s FS Engineering and Construction. It includes France’s Alstom Transport, Korea’s Samsung C&T Corp..
The fourth consortium is led by Austria’s Strabag and includes Italy’s Ansaldo STS, Switzerland’s Stadler Rail, India’s Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Britain’s Hyder Consulting and U.S firm Worley Parsons.
Saudi Arabia has only limited public transport facilities and Riyadh suffers grinding congestion for much of the day and into late evenings. In December, the government unveiled a 690-billion riyal ($184 billion) budget for 2012, as it seeks to boost infrastructure, education and health.