A $4 million contract to design the first phase of a proposed Bogota subway system was awarded last week to a consortium consisting of local firm Integral Medellin and the Spanish engineering firm Ayesa.
Companies from Canada, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland had also bid on the contract.
The design phase is expected to be completed by early 2015, followed by three years of construction of the first line of the metro - a 27-kilometer link between Portal de las Américas and 127th Street.
Dedicated lanes for the Transmilenio bus service have since its entry into service in 2000 cut commuting time for many Bogotanos.
Nevertheless, traffic congestion remains a chronic problem in South America’s second biggest city.
Meanwhile, Colombia’s neighbors are moving ahead with projects of their own.
The Panama City metro is expected to start service early next year.
The project, which will have a final cost of close to $2 billlion, is being built by the Linea Uno consortium, led by Spain’s Fomento de Construcciones.
Meanwhile, the European Investment Bank last December agreed to provide a €200m loan to the Republic of Ecuador for the construction of a €1bn metro project in the capital city, Quito.
Additional funds for will come from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Corporacion Andina de Fomento.
The 23-kilometer line is expected to start operating in 2017.