Lebanon’s top transport official confirmed that Spain agreed to finance a plan to revive the Lebanese railway network that has been out of service since the start of civil war, AFP reports. In the 1975-1990s, the Middle Eastern nation was almost ruined after the long armed conflict on its soil.
For Lebanon, realization of the comprehensive master plan for the 407 kilometre-long railway is really important. The deal is expected next month, Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamie said on Wednesday. The Spanish government promised to sign the agreement within the next three weeks, Hamie said. The Lebanese minister added that the plan should be completed six months after an agreement is clinched.
“We should sign a deal with the Spanish government within three weeks,” Hamie said.
In 2018, the World Bank approved a $295 million package to jumpstart the Lebanese first modern public transport system.
Spain’s government will pay a Spanish firm to draft a feasibility study, a survey of current infrastructure and proposals to settle infringements on the rail network, Hamie said. The master plan could serve as a way to attract potential investors for the rehabilitation of the railway.
Commenting on the plan, Hamie said that it is crucial for the port lays out a framework for optimal investment before the start of reconstruction which is estimated to cost $500-600 million.