(Bloomberg) -- Iraq is pitching a $17 billion network of roads and railways it says will help the region transport energy resources, goods and passengers, government spokesman Basim Al-Awadi told reporters in Baghdad.
The “Development Road” project — billed as a link between Asia and Europe — would stretch from Faw Port in Iraq’s southern province of Basra to Turkey in the north. Iraq is looking to bring together its neighbors to finance the giant project, estimated to produce about $6 billion in revenue a year, according to Al-Awadi.
The project would be constructed in three stages; the first will end in 2028, the second in 2038 and the third in 2050. Investments will be directed to railways, with $10.5 billion to construct 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) rail infrastructure and to buy new trains.
Another $6.5 billion would go toward building the same length of highways. This road would be able to transport 5-6 million containers and millions of passengers a year. The network would begin operating in 2028.
“Iraq aspires to expand the Development Road after 2028 to be a new window for exporting gas and crude oil from Iraq and neighboring countries to Turkey and Europe to meet future energy consumption requirements,” Al-Awadi told reporters.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani said in a televised speech that the Faw port will be the gate for this economic activity and it will be foundation stone for a non-oil, sustainable economy and a link to serve Iraq’s neighbors and the region.
“Railways and highways will facilitate the transportation of goods, and the jobs that these projects will create will be a positive imprint that will move the people of the region to a stage of integration,” Al-Sudani said.
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