MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's government will tender three passenger train projects next year worth 97 billion pesos ($7.4 billion), two of which will service the capital's sprawling metropolitan area, the country's transport ministry said on Tuesday.
Project details will be published ahead of the contract tender in early 2014, the ministry said in a statement.
The new trains will connect the country's capital with the cities of Toluca and Queretaro, in addition to a train traversing tourist destinations along Mexico's southern Yucatan peninsula.
The 237-kilometer (147 mile) Mexico City-Queretaro route will cost about $3.3 billion.
The 47-mile route connecting Mexico City with Toluca, capital of the state of Mexico, will cost $2.9 billion, while the nearly 200-mile Yucatan route will cost $1.2 billion.
Both public and private funds will be used to build the projects, the ministry said.
In July, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he expects to oversee $300 billion in spending on major infrastructure projects aimed at beefing up the country's economy during his six-year term.
Public and private investments in transportation and communications infrastructure will reach nearly a third of that total between 2013 and 2018, the president said.
Markus Mildner, executive vice president of Siemens Mexico
Mexican trains currently transport about 13 percent of freight cargo, but only 1.2 percent of passengers, according to government data. Cars and trucks, meanwhile, account for more than half of freight and 96 percent of passengers.
($1 = 13.1151 Mexican pesos)
(Reporting by Tomas Sarmiento; editing by Andrew Hay)