RTA could bring Dubai Metro expansion forward

Leaders at Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have confirmed that plans to expand the city's Metro network could be brought forward if the emirate's bid for the World Expo in 2020 is successful.The organisation is hoping to complete an AED 5 billion (£866 million) upgrade of the Red Line, but the project could be fast-tracked if the high-profile international event is staged in Dubai.Organisers of the city's bid have outlined potential sites to host the conference and it is likely to end up next to Dubai World Central Airport. If the showpiece is awarded to the sheikhdom, the RTA will be under pressure to provide Metro links between the airport and the rest of the region.Mattar Mohammad Al Tayer, chairman of the board and executive director of the RTA, said plans to expand the Red Line out towards the airport have been in place for some time, Gulf News reports."As soon as the bid results are out and if we win - which we will Inshallah (God willing), we start the planning and development of the project," he was quoted as saying.Dubai World Central has only been used to transport cargo to date, but the aviation facility is scheduled to launch passenger flights in October 2013.Conveniently, organisers of the World Expo 2020 are expected to announce the host city just one month later.Mr Al Tayer said the new-look Metro servive will also cover Jebel Ali, which is close to the Expo site, thus enabling even more people to travel to the venue."We have already floated the tenders for the next stage of Etihad Rail's development. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2017, and that will bring additional traffic to the area," he added.Earlier this week, the Bureau International des Expositions scrutinised each Expo 2020 bidder and confirmed that Dubai has moved on to the next stage of the process. Thailand's Ayutthaya has withdrawn from the competition, leaving just four contenders, including Izmir in Turkey, Sao Paulo in Brazil, Yekaterinburg in Russia and Dubai.

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