By Megha Merani
DUBAI, March 7 (TRPN) - Saudi Arabia plans to implement metro projects in Makkah, Jeddah, Dammam and Medina in partnership with the private sector, the chief of Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) said on Tuesday.
"The (Makkah) project has now been renegotiated to be PPP (public private partnership). Same thing applies for Jeddah, Damman and Madina," Dr Rumaih Al Rumaih, president of the Public Transport Authority and of SRO, told the Middle East Rail conference in Dubai.
In January, consultants Faithful+Gould told Zawya Projects that the total value of project awards forecast in Saudi Arabia for 2017 could rise from $27 billion to $32 billion if the Makkah Metro project, which was expected to be awarded in 2016, goes through this year.
Last month, Saudi-based English language daily Saudi Gazette reported that the architectural designs of the Jeddah Public Transportation Program (JPTP), which includes the Jeddah Metro, are 30 percent complete.
The newspaper also reported that the Makkah Public Transport Program (MPTP), which includes the Makkah Metro, has been approved by King Salman. It said the first phase of the metro will be 11 kilometers long with seven stations, and will be connected to the Haramain High Speed Rail station.