(ABU DHABI, UAE) -- A recent study by research company Business Monitor International, finds that GCC countries will invest more than $119.6 billion in infrastructure projects over the next ten years, with 90 percent of the money going to rail projects.
"The amount allocated for investment in rail projects clearly demonstrates the region's strategy for mass transit," said Richard Pavitt, director of the Roadex-Railex exhibition that will take place in Abu Dhabi from November 28-30. The focus this year is on road and rail infrastructure, public transport, and parking.
Saudi Arabia is spending $25 billion on its rail network to add 3,900 kilometers of track through three major projects. The Saudi Landbridge project is a 950 kilometer railway to connect Jeddah and Dammam. The 450 kilometer Haramain high-speed will connect Mecca and Medina with Jeddah. The North South Railway will join the northern mineral belt with Riyadh, the capital, and the industrial city Jubail.
The UAE has already committed $7.6 billion in Dubai on the red and green metro lines and $3.26 billion on several major road projects. It has also formed a public-private partnership with Italian construction and infrastructure company Salini Costruttori, to overhaul sections of the UAE-Saudi Arabia Highway.
In Abu Dhabi, "there are plans for a US$7 billion 131 kilometer monorail track, most of which will be underground. Further funds are budgeted for a high-speed rail link with Dubai, freight rail corridor, and new roads all scheduled for completion within the next five years," explained Pavitt.
Significant amounts are being invested in infrastructure projects in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar, notably the $4 billion Qatar-Bahrain causeway which is currently delayed due to design, financial, and technical issues. The proposed GCC railway project could be worth between $20 - 25 billion. According to Pavitt, the railway project is scheduled to start before the end of 2011 and will be finished in six years.