Rail Service to be Revived


Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry has said that the Chinese Government is prepared to provide 85 per cent of the required funding to revive the railway industry, through a loan to the Jamaica Railway Corporation, which would be guaranteed by the Government of Jamaica.
“The project has to have the capacity to repay the US$354 million it is estimated to cost; the Government of Jamaica will retain ownership of its assets in respect of the JRC, while all the operating costs are to be met by the operators, who will be expected to provide the remaining 15 per cent of the overall funding as equity,” Mr. Henry said.
The Minister was making his contribution to the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 28.
Mr. Henry pointed out that the Chinese proposal is the route being taken and it is now a “done deal,” with the Ministry and the government looking forward to bringing back the buzz which once dotted the geographical network, which was covered by the passenger rail service.
Rural agriculture, cottage industries, heritage tourism and excursions, including school tours are projected to be among the main beneficiary activities from the reintroduction of the passenger rail service.
“This is akin to what’s happening in many other parts of the world, where various countries are investing heavily in railways, because of the recognised potential of rail services to contribute to national economic development,” Mr. Henry said.
Colombia, China, India, the Philippines, Mozambique, Ghana, Brazil, and Trinidad and Tobago are among the countries which are investing in rail transportation.

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