Brazil’s Transport Minister César Borges is convinced that the country’s plans for high-speed rail will go ahead despite postponing bidding for the project by a year.

The deadline for phase one of the competition, which will choose who operates and maintains the new line, has been pushed back 12 months after only one consortium had submitted a bid by the original August 13 deadline.

The 510 km Rio – Sao Paulo line was originally proposed to begin operation in time for the 2014 World Cup, but unsuccessful bidding competitions in 2010 and 2011 have delayed the completion date for Brazil’s first high-speed line to 2020.

The delay is designed to give interested German and Spanish consortia more time to prepare their bids.

Bidding for phase two, which will decide who will build the high-speed route, is still due to take place in 2015.

“We want the largest number of participants at the event,” said Borges.

“We will not determine dates. The forecast for 2020 maintained start up continues. The design of high-speed train is a complex process that has never been faster on any project in the world.”

The concession model will remain unchanged following the delay, officials have said.

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