UAE: Roads and Transport Authority Eyes $5B Private Sector Partnership

Feb. 08--The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is inviting investments worth $5 billion to finance a host of public transport projects for World Expo 2020.

The projects include extension of the Metro lines and adding freight coaches to Metro trains.

The authority has submitted a draft law on partnership with the private sector to the Dubai Executive Council for approval. It has also laid down the corporate structure for partnership with the private sector.

The projects slated to be executed include improvement of the Union Square landmark. It consists of building towers on the Union Square Metro Station covering 19,000 square metres, which will be designated for shops, restaurants, offices and accommodation.

The projects include the construction of Shaikh Rashid bin Saeed and Al Shindagha crossings, bus stations and multi-storey car parks.

The RTA has also chalked out the full cycle for the projects -- beginning from the detailed study, the contractual phase up to the execution and operation.

has learnt from RTA sources that the authority is planning to negotiate with Majid Al Futtaim Group for extending the Metro Red Line from Al Rashidiya station to Mirdif City Centre. The negotiation would include providing a plot of land adjoining the City Centre to Al Futtaim to build a hotel in exchange of the group financing the extension of the Red Line.

Al Futtaim group is known for building roads and bridges that link its shopping malls like Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre with nearby areas.

The source said talks with Al Futtaim Group will take place soon, and Dh500 million had been fixed for financing this project.

Some of the other projects for which the RTA would invite bids from private companies include extension of the Metro line up to Dragon Mall, making changes to the metro coaches to match the nature of their destinations. The authority also has plans to add freight coaches to Metro trains.

A plan is also afoot to have new metro stations built as part of popular malls.

The Dubai Government will finance the Union Bridge project across the Creek, the work on which will start by the end of this year. This project is estimated to cost Dh1.1 billion. The bridge will replace the Floating Bridge, which will be shifted to the Sheraton crossing linking Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Street in Bur Dubai and Omar bin Al Khattab Street in Deira. It will take three years to complete.

Copyright 2014 - Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates