Minister: 'No delay to $53bn Saudi transport plan'
Abdullah al-Muqbil, Saudi Arabia's minister of transport, said public transport projects in the Kingdom are proceeding as scheduled
Public transport projects are proceeding as scheduled in Saudi Arabia, and companies will be penalised for any delays to the same, the Kingdom's minister of transport said.
Abdullah al-Muqbil said there will be no sizeable cutbacks to transport projects, which the Kingdom views as being critical to economic diversification away from energy dependence, and job creation.
According to local daily al-Jazirah, Muqbil said the government has allocated $53.3bn (SAR200bn) for public transport plans in cities with high population densities; however, no time frame has been specified for this spending.
"Whether it is public transport projects or trains, the schedule of execution has been set by the Council of Ministers.
"Each project has a specific schedule and its execution is within an identified time frame with no delay," Muqbil said.
"Definitely, no delay is allowed on all the ministry's projects, whether roads or public transport...Violations will be spotted and penalties will be imposed on companies in charge of these projects."
Reuters reported Muqbil confirmed bids were under evaluation to procure and operate buses for a 10-year public transport project in Mecca.
Among the biggest projects is a $22.5bn plan to build a metro system in Riyadh, to be completed in 2019.
Three foreign-led consortia were awarded contracts for Riyadh metro in July 2013.
Turki al-Sudairy, project coordinator at one of the Riyadh metro contractors, told Reuters that the project has experienced no delays, and is now 21% complete, with full delivery expected as scheduled in 2019.