The state government has also invited proposals for private sector financing of the project, which is expected to cost Reais 1.5bn ($US 470m).

The line will partially utilise the alignment of the 13.6km suburban rail line from Calçada to Paripe and construction will be carried out in two phases: Comércio - Plataforma (9.4km) and Plataforma - São Luiz (9.1km).

According to the reference design documents for the project, services will be operated by a fleet of 750v dc bi-directional LRVs, which will be 70-100% low-floor with a maximum capacity of 600 passengers. Twenty vehicles will be required to operate the timetable.

The line will have a commercial speed of 25km/h and a maximum operating speed of 70km/h. Services will operate at 10-minute intervals between Comércio and Paripe, with 20-minute headways between Paripe and São Luis and a 40-minute journey time between the terminus stations. Forecast daily ridership is 92,800 passengers.

Construction will begin within 90 days of contract signing and the project is due to be completed within 36 months.

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