30% of RTA projects to be tendered as PPPs

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By Elizabeth Broomhall  www.constructionweekonline.com

Almost a third of all RTA projects launched over the next five years will be tendered as PPP contracts, according to a senior RTA official.

Dubai metro
Dubai metro

Speaking to Construction Week on the sidelines of the conference PPP Middle East, the RTA’s CEO for strategy and corporate governance Abdul Younes said that 30% of projects would be launched as PPPs to attract private investment and expertise.

“Around 30% of projects over the next five years will be tendered as PPPs,” said Younes. “There are always other non-traditional ways of financing projects, one of them is the PPP programme.”

“For the public sector, this means new funds are available to develop infrastructure, and the private sector is usually more efficient in terms of management and maintaining assets. There is also more flexibility and room for innovation.”

Among the main contracts earmarked to be delivered as PPPs in the short term he said, included those related to marine transport projects and those linked to multi storey carparks.

“We have three main modes of marine transport in Dubai including water taxis, water buses and ferries. We bought these already, but we need the private sector to operate them.

“We may provide the opportunity for the private sector to build more stations for marine transport systems through PPPs, because for some of them there are no stations.

He added: “We also have multi-storey carparks to be built across 9 or 10 locations throughout the city. The contracts will be tendered and awarded later this year. We have to do some studies first, so maybe towards the end of the year.”

In the longer term, he confirmed that both the Sheikh Rashid bridge and the Dubai Smile – which will replace the existing floating bridge – would also be tendered as PPPs after 2014, not to mention the operation of the Dubai Metro Green Line and potentially the construction of other lines.

“We have a plan to tender the operation and maintenance package of the whole metro system as a ppp in the future. It is also part of the long term plan to tender the construction of the other lines as PPP contracts.”

Proving its commitment to PPP arrangements, so far, the RTA has set up an internal PPP committee and issued a policy on how PPPs should be established.

A new PPP law is currently under review by the government and is expected to come into force in the first quarter of this year.