Jordan’s plans to build a new rail network is blocked by funding shortages, according to a government report published on Monday.

The Arab country is also unlikely to borrow to fund the project given its already high public debt while there are fears that demand for this sort of public transport may be weak compared with its large costs, the Transport Ministry said in its report, published by Jordan’s Arabic language daily Al-Ghad.

The report, included in the 2023-2027 national transport strategy, noted that Jordan needs a modern rail network to replace its outdated system, revive now-defunct lines and provide new passenger and freight transport services.

“The report proposed some solutions to the obstacles facing the rail project…they include issuing tenders for Phase 1 of this project as an investment on the basis of public-private sector partnership (PPP) and annual budgetary allocations,” the paper said.

It noted that a rail line linking Aqaba with phosphate mine has become out of date and needs to be replaced after it was discontinued in 2018.

“Engineering designs for Phase 1 have been completed and tenders are almost ready…about 66 percent of land through which the new network will pass has also been possessed but funding remains a key obstacle which needs to be tackled,” it added.

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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