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Government bets on provisional measure to regulate railways

Jul, 21, 2021 Posted by Ruth Hollard

Week 202129

Not seeing any progress in the processing of the bill to create a new legal framework for railways, locked in the Senate since 2018, the government decided to change its strategy and bet on a provisional measure (MP) to open a new front for private investment in the sector.

The tactic was also used in the privatization of Eletrobras, which also had a project that was stuck in Congress and only took off when it was transformed into a provisional measure. In the case of railroads, the PLS 261 was presented in 2018 by senator José Serra (PSDB-SP) but has evolved very little since then. The rapporteur, Jean Paul Prates (PT-RN), still discusses changes in the text.

In a live interview promoted yesterday by Valor in partnership with the ANTF (national association of rail transporters), the Minister of Infrastructure, Tarcísio Freitas, announced that the government intends to send an MP to Congress to speed up the approval of the new framework. One of the main changes is to allow new railroads to be built under the authorization regime, on the free initiative of the private sector which today only invests in concession projects auctioned by the government.

The ministry’s expectation is to facilitate around R$ 25 billion of investments in new railway stretches, such as Sete Lagoas (MG)-São Mateus (ES), and Pirapora (MG)-Unaí (MG).

Freitas assesses that the approval of PLS ​​261/18 is taking too long. He believes the delay has caused different states to create their own legal frameworks that provide for the authorization regime.

The minister cited the initiative for a new state railroad in Mato Grosso that was launched this week by the state government. The project, to be carried out under just such an authorization regime, would allow the extension of Rumo’s Malha Norte, which now reaches Rondonópolis, to the capital city Cuiabá and Lucas do Rio Verde, further to the north of the state. “The extension is very welcome,” he commented. However, he believes that other cases may not have the same “synergy” with the planning of the federal railway network.

Source: Valor Econômico

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