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Costa Rica seeks to modernize urban transportation with electric train

Costa Rica wants to reorganize its chaotic transport system and start decarbonizing its economy with a modern electric train that will run through the country’s main cities, the government announced Wednesday.

The electric train, in its final stage, will cover 73 km over three lines with the ability to transport 250,000 passengers per day, said First Lady Claudia Dobles, the architect in charge of urban reorganization projects in the country.

“The electric train will be our first means of mass transportation with clean energy,” Dobles said at the opening of a National Urban Mobility Congress in San José.

The government expects to start the public bidding process for a feasibility study to start in the coming weeks. According to Dobles, the study should be completed by the end of 2019 and construction would then begin in 2021.

This train would have integrated intermodal stations to other means of transport, and be the center of urban mobility transformation in Costa Rica.

Dobles said that the modernization of the bus system, with an electric fleet, will be “as or more important than the electric train.”

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Its modernization includes exclusive bus lanes and an electronic payment system that would reduce costs and time. The urban reorganization takes into account housing projects near urban centers that reduce the commutes. It also includes policies to encourage people to replace combustion engine vehicles with electric cars.

New infrastructure would also prioritize and facilitate the use of bicycles.

Dobles highlighted that Costa Rica has a clean electricity matrix, with almost 100 percent coming from renewable sources, which will facilitate the transition to a emission-free transportation model.

The administration of President Carlos Alvarado has prioritized decarbonizing the economy of Costa Rica, a country that prides itself on being an environmental paradise.

“This is a very ambitious project. Our economy is highly related to the carbon economy,” Dobles said. “The transition to a carbon-free economy involves many challenges, and we are determined to do this.”

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