The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) is planning to provide BRL21bn ($11bn) in funds for the planned Rio-São Paulo high-speed rail project.

The funds would cover up 60% of costs of the BRL34.6bn ($18.5bn) project.

The project involves building a 518km high-speed metro railway to connect Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo and Campinas, with later extensions planned to Curitiba and Belo Horizonte.

The project is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2010, with the tendering process to be completed in early 2010 and a contract to be signed in May 2010.

The project is expected to be completed in six years.