Sri Lanka to Issue RFP for Colombo Monorail

Upal Jayasuriya
Upul Jayasuriya, Chairman of the Board of Investment, Sri Lanka

Colombo: Upul Jayasuriya, Chairman of the Board of Investment, has stated that Sri Lanka’s new government is about to issue an RFP in the next 10 days for building “a monorail or Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system” for the capital Colombo.

In a separate statement the Director General of the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development Luxman Jayasekara has stated that the ministry is looking into the feasibility of constructing a monorail line from Malabe to Kotahena.

The previous project (Line 1 from Malabe to Colombo Fort and Line 2 from Colombo Fort to Moratuwa) had been shelved by former Transport Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara, because of “too expensive”.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency, which has helped develop the transportation master plan, had estimated the project cost at 1.9 Billion US$.

Sri Lanka’s investment promotion bureau said that the government plans to make a request for proposals this month to build a monorail or mass rapid transit system (MRT) that spreads out from Colombo Fort.

“RFPs for the monorail project will be out within a week,” said Upul Jayasuriya on Monday at a forum organized by the Sri Lanka – Germany Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“It will be either monorail or a MRT and we have not confirmed yet for which the investment going to be made. It will all depend on the proposals and cost effectiveness,”

“At the moment the government is looking at it with an open mind.”

Although monorail typically requires public investment due to the difficulty in covering investment costs, the BOI appears to be calling for private sector proposals in the hope of settling for a public-private partnership.

He said the project has been estimated to cost 1.9 billion US dollars by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. JICA’s transportation plan envisages monorail from Malabe to Colombo Fort and to Colombo North.

BOI expectations are for the monorail or the MRT to be built from Moratuwa to Colombo Fort, Baththaramulla to Colombo Fort and Negombo to Colombo Fort.

The project will take four years to be completed, Jayasuriya said.

He added that the project will be done on a build-operate-transfer basis with “no financial drain on the government.”

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