The Brazilian government plans to place the administration of another 2600 kilometers of federal highways in private hands. The bidding process on seven highway stretches will begin in May.
The roads made available are in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, Paraná, and Santa Catarina. The contracts should be signed by the end of the first semester, and toll stations are expected to start operating early in 2007.
The general director of the National Land Transportation Agency (ANTT), José Alexandre Rezende, informed that the federal and state governments "have difficulties in maintaining the highways, and the best highways in the country are presently administered by concessioners."
The population, he said, will receive the benefits of inexpensive tolls and regular maintenance.
The firms that present the winning bids, either individually or in the form of consortia, will invest around US$ 8.5 billion and will be granted 25-year concessions, eligible for extension. The firms will be responsible for highway maintenance and the construction of toll booths.
The concessioners, Rezende added, will also be accountable for environmental balance in the area of the highways, and they will be prohibited from transferring part of their concessions to other groups and making changes in financial control during the first three years of the contract.