The high-speed line was a major priority for the Socrates administration, but according to the temporary government it will be left to the country's next prime minister to decide whether to move ahead or cancel the project all together.
A public-private partnership model was adopted for the project, with Elos, a joint venture led by two Portuguese companies winning a 40 year concession for 176km double-track line between Poceirão and Caia in December 2009. A tender for construction of the Lisbon - Poceirão section was awarded to a Spanish consortium led by FCC last summer. However, Portuguese authorities subsequently announced in September that they were suspending the work on this section citing financial difficulties.
The government indicated that it would retender the project, but with a six month deadline having now passed, the companies involved could claim compensation that could top Euros 200 million. FCC says that it has filed an administrative complaint for the approximately Euros 10 million it spent to participate in the 2010 tender.
Meanwhile, Portugal's high-speed railway company Rave, which is responsible for the project, is being disbanded. Employees are reportedly being relocated and their jobs moved to Portuguese track authority, and parent company, Refer. Construction on the high-speed line was due to begin this year.