Nur-Sultan Authorities Want to Bring LRT Project to an End

The unfinished pylons add no value to the city, the mayor said

Since the final implementation of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project require more money, the city’s authorities are trying now to attract new investors. Altay Kulginov, mayor of Nur-Sultan, made this statement when meeting with Nur-Sultan residents, Interfax reported.

According to the official the construction of the LRT was postponed amid the pandemic because the project required more financial resources, including loans from commercial banks in Kazakhstan and abroad. 

«We’ve resumed this work, but we need banks to give us more money. As you know, unfinished buildings that are still left do not add any value to the city’s appearance. A huge amount of money has already been spent. And now we are going to proceed with this work; the negotiations with banks about the project has already begun,» he said.

In January 2021 Kazakhstani media reported that former deputy head of Nur-Sultan Kanat Sultanbekov and CEO of Astana LRT Talgat Ardan, who both allegedly were involved in fraud, had been searched by the police. 

Talgat Ardan was fired in July 2017 by former mayor Aset Isekeshev shortly before the police opened the case against him. After an investigation by the anti-corruption service, it became known that at least once Astana LRT has paid 300 million tenge ($718.116) to one of the contractors while the limit for such payments is just 125 million ($299.215).

In summer 2019, Altay Kulginov announced that the Light Rail Transit project was improved, thus becoming more efficient. For example, some expenditures have been cut. As a result, the total cost of the project decreased from $1.8 billion to $1.5 billion.

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