The Senate approved today (5) a bill (PL) that creates a new legal framework for Brazilian railways. The text deals with new concession or authorization instruments, in addition to the exploitation of railways in the private regime, both at the federal, state and municipal levels. In practice, they are guidelines for the expansion of the railway sector in the country. Now, the PL goes to the Chamber.
The project was altered by the rapporteur, Jean Paul Prates (PT-RN), generating a replacement. It provides that rail transport under public law can be carried out directly by the Union, states and municipalities; or, indirectly, through concession or permission. But the direct execution of rail transport by the Union will only occur when it is necessary to guarantee national security and sovereignty or in cases of relevant collective interest.
The use of the authorization modality for the construction of new railways is the main novelty of the project. In this model, the Public Power allows the individual to assume the risk of the railway operation by investing in projects of their interest. The proposal is different from the concession, in which the investment is financed by the State, seeking to meet its strategic interests.
“We are voting on a general law on railways,” said Prates. “So, we are regulating the inclusion of authorizations in the legal world of the railways. And also self-regulation. It will not at any time supersede the rail sector regulation. It is divided into the technical and operational aspects of a railway system, nothing more. And it, even so, is subject to the final mediation, in case of conflicts, by the regulatory body. But it’s important to streamline systems,” he added during the session.
The legal framework approved on Tuesday offers the possibility for a passenger rail operator to have other properties close to the line to help with the fare and reduce the need for state subsidy. According to Prates, passenger trains in the world are not only paid for the passenger usage fee. The idea is that train transport services depend as little as possible on state subsidies.
* With information from the Senate Agency
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