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ASTANA (TCA) — Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev believes that Light Rail Transport project proposed for Astana by French companies is too expensive. Instead, the Kazakh capital city will get a bus rapid transit network, Tengrinews.kz reported.

“They [the French companies] offered us an expensive project worth more than 300 billion tenge ($1.9 billion). It is unacceptable for us,” Nazarbayev was quoted by the presidential press service as saying at a meeting on Astana’s future development earlier this week.

“That is why the municipal authorities of Astana have suggested considering an alternative option: to create a network of designated lanes for rapid bus transit through the city. The first stage of this project is less expensive, so the decision was made to start its implementation,” the president said addressing the problem of overloaded streets in Astana.

Mayor of Astana, Imangali Tasmagambetov, reported on the progress in the development of an intellectual traffic infrastructure in the capital city. The new system will be introduced in 2016 and will automate the city traffic regulation.

Initially it was planned to launch both the Light Rail Transport (LRT) system with 50 trains and the Bus Rapid Transit network with buses running along dedicated lanes.

France’s Alstom was among the companies bidding to build the LRT system in Astana. The company proposed making the lead train look like the head of a snow leopard.

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