Reuters reports that the French engineering group that has signed an outline agreement to build a metro line above Baghdad's streets is in fact Alstom.
Shaker al-Zamili, the head of Baghdad Investment Commission, said on Thursday that Iraqi officials signed a memorandum of understanding with Alstom in France last week.
An Alstom spokeswoman in Paris confirmed the agreement was signed last Saturday, allowing exclusive talks for the building of 25 km (15 miles) of high-level track.
According to the Reuters report, the metro will be partly funded by a French government loan covering 50 to 60 percent of the cost, Zamili said, with the remainder financed through a low-interest loan from a French government-run bank to be repaid over 20 years.
Zamili said the line, which would take up to two years to complete, would ease traffic congestion and would link the northern Baghdad districts of Shaab, Adhamiya, Kadhimiya and Hurriya with the central Alawi zone.
As we reported in June, Iraq's southern city of Najaf awarded privately-owned Canadian consortium TransGlobim International a $600 million contract to build the country's first monorail.