The executive branch wants the legislature to authorize a 3.5 billion colon feasibility study of a proposed electric valley train. That’s about $6.6 million.
The cost of the study is far less than the job itself, which is being estimated at $120 million. That amount would turn the current diesel-powered service into electricity from Alajuela to Curridabat along with a spur for Juan Santamaría airport.
The figures are contained in what is called an extraordinary budget presented to the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios. Such budget add ons are routine.
In addition, Guillermo Santana, executive president of the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles, said the agency needs about $1 million for current maintenance of the lines that are now in service.
One feasibility study was done this year by students from a French university. The study was done with the approval of the Municipalidad de Alajuela, the airport concession holder Aeris, and the rail institute. The French university is Universidad Sciences Po Rennes. Professors at Tecnológico de Costa Rica supervised.
The study suggests a spur line from a location in Alajuela to the airport. The plan suggests that the line might be in service by 2030.
The central government already has said it wants to electrify the rail lines from the Estación de Atlántico in San José and Alajuela next year. That has been described as a $120 million job, about the same as the estimate given Tuesday but not including the line to Curridabat.
The entire project is estimated to cost $1.4 billion with rail lines running to San Ramón and Orotina.