In order to speed up economic growth, Chile is set to accelerate the execution of nearly US$1.4bn in infra investments that were scheduled for 2019-2020.

When presenting the plan, finance minister Felipe Larraín (pictured left) said that these funds will include US$388mn to bring forward tenders for public works contracts on which construction is scheduled to start in early 2020.

Another US$657mn will be spent to speed up complementary works included in ongoing highway concessions, which entail road widening and installation of electronic toll gates.

Meanwhile US$300mn will be allocated to accelerate ongoing hospital constructions, with the Marga-Marga, Quillota-PetorcaAlto Hospicio and Gustavo Fricke facilities among those that will be benefited.

Lastly, Larraín said that additional funds will be spent on studies to identify and support new projects.

“As a government we’re committed to the country’s integral development and the management of public resources,” the minister said.

It is estimated that this push in infrastructure will create 12,000 jobs in the short term.

Following the presentation, public works minister Juan Andrés Fontaine (pictured center) told BNamericas that the funds for this program will come through reallocating resources from this year’s budget.

“This includes decrees that have to be authorized by the finance ministry itself,” the minister said.

On the subject of financing studies and whether the government will finance more environmental studies before tendering new concessions, as in the case of the Catemu reservoir, Fontaine told BNamericas that his office was evaluating that possibility on a case-by-case basis.

“In other cases we prefer a mixed model. In the case of the Camino de La Fruta concession we divided the road into two sections and we tendered the concession with one section that already had its environmental qualification resolution approved, while the other will be looked at later,” he explained.

He warned that if the government decided to carry out environmental impact studies for all concessions, it could mean delays of up to two years in some tenders.

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