KPMG LLP, one of the largest professional services companies in the world, has been tapped as the financial consultant for Novotren, the Caguas-San Juan commuter train project.
Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority (P3 Authority) Executive Director Grace Santana said Tuesday the company was chosen because of its experience working with government entities around the world and its expertise in the design, construction and financing of rail projects.
KPMG, whose global headquarters are based in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, was one of five companies that bid for the contract that pays by the hour, up to $1.95 million, the P3 Authority confirmed.
The selection moves the project, 10 years in the making, a little closer to reality.
Novotren is a light-rail train service that will connect Caguas and San Juan. It is expected to move 14,000 passengers daily, drawing users from Caguas and adjoining municipalities.
With the selection of KPMG, the project now enters the phase of analysis and preparation of the of the Desirability and Convenience Study as required by the Puerto Rico Public Private-Partnerships Act, a legislation passed in 2009 under the administration of former Gov. Luis Fortuño. The law aims to promote ventures between the private and public sector.
The analysis, according to Santana, will include a survey of the different technologies available for such urban railway systems. She expects the study to be ready for the consideration of the P3 Authority board of directors sometime in August after which the process will move to the bidding phase.
In May, an official connected with the project anticipated that the bidding process would commence very soon but he proved overly optimistic. Instead, Santana told News is my Business that the project will go to bid before the end of the year but she avoided giving a specific month.
Interest in Novotren is apparently strong. More than half a dozen companies from around the world are said to be waiting in the wings to participate in the bidding for the project whose cost is estimated at around $400 million.
The P3 Authority’s priority projects for now are Novotren, two correctional facilities — one for men and the other for women– and the conversion to natural gas of the PREPA power plants.
A spokeswoman for the agency said that P3 Authority is now evaluating proposals from three companies that are bidding to serve as financial consultants for the construction of the correctional facilities.