President going to Alajuela bearing news of rail line link

President Laura Chinchilla will be going to Alajuela this morning for the annual Juan Santamaría day speech. She is almost certain to make mention of plans to bring passenger rail service back to the community in another expansion of the service.

The president said Tuesday that the government would spend 3 billion colons, about $600,000 to clear the 11 kilometers of rail right-of-way that separates Alajuela from the existing Heredia train line.

The work will be done by the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles and comes on the heels of the announced expansion of passenger service into Cartago.

Among the sites that will be served by the Alajuela line will be the Coyol de Alajuela area where there are free trade zones and industries.

There was no timetable given for the expansion. In the past, these jobs ended up costing much more and taking much more time than expected. The Alajuela line has been encroached by dwellings and other structures and has even been asphalted over by road crews.

Railroad supervisors said they think that all of the right-of-way will have to be graded and all new track put down.The central government is trying to entice commuters to use the rails to cut down on vehicle pollution and congestion.

Ms. Chinchilla is expected to participate in a Juan Santamaría day ceremony at 7:30 a.m. and then enjoy a parade made up mostly of school children. Today is a legal holiday in Costa Rica.

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