Brazil bullet train tender delayed for third time
The bidding process to build Brazil's bullet train has been delayed again but the government insists the flagship project will continue as planned.
Transport minister Cesar Borges said it had been delayed this time after only one consortium came forward to work on the 38bn reais ($16.7bn) scheme.
The rail line linking Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro was originally planned to be completed in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
This is the third delay to the project.
The first phase of the bidding process, which includes the selection of technology suppliers and system maintenance components, is now expected in the second half of next year.
Mr Borges said the delay would give more foreign companies the opportunity to participate.
"The postponement was made due to requests from potential German and Spanish investors," he said.
The government said the second stage of the project, choosing companies to build the infrastructure, was scheduled to begin as planned in 2015.
The deadline for the completion of the high-speed rail line is still set for 2020.
The rail link is a key infrastructure project of President Dilma Rousseff's government.
The 500km (300 mile) link between Brazil's two biggest cities has long been on the drawing board but transport specialists and construction firms have questioned the project's economic viability.
A previous auction in 2011 failed to attract any bidders.
The government estimates 40 million people will use the train in its first year, with demand rising to 100 million passengers by the end of the concession in 2060.
Brazil has suffered massive protests against public corruption and analysts said the government did not want to open itself to further criticism by awarding the contact to the only bidder.