Triunfo Participacoes, one of Brazil's leading infrastructure companies, on Wednesday was awarded the rights to operate and maintain three major stretches of federal highways in the South American nation.

Triunfo offered to charge a toll of 2.85 reais ($1.24) per 100 kilometers (62 miles) on those stretches of the BR-060, BR-153 and BR-262 highways, which run through 47 cities in central Brazil and cover a combined distance of 1,176 kilometers (730 miles), the Antt land-transportation regulator said.

That represents a 52 percent reduction from the maximum toll of 5.94 reais ($2.58) per 1,000 kilometers allowed by the government.

Four other Brazilian companies and consortiums submitted bids in Wednesday's auction.

Triunfo also pledged to invest 7.15 billion reais (some $3.1 billion) in highway expansion, improvement and modernization projects during the 30-year life of the concession.

The stretch of BR-060 links the capital, Brasilia, with the central state of Goias and runs through Anapolis, a major agricultural and industrial hub in central Brazil.

The 630-kilometer (390-mile) stretch of BR-153 connects the central city of Goiania with the southeastern states of Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo and is a key route for transporting farm products to consumer markets.

And the 546-kilometer stretch of BR-262 links Brasilia with Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais.

Last week, Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht was awarded a 30-year concession to operate and maintain a stretch of federal highway BR-163, a major route in the western state of Mato Grosso.

Wednesday's highway auction was the fourth in the Brazilian government's Logistics Investment Program, or PIL.

In addition to the concession awarded to Odebrecht, the Planalto group on Sept. 18 won the rights to operate a stretch of the BR-050 federal highway in the states of Goias and Minas Gerais.

The first auction of the PIL, also held in September, was canceled due to a lack of interest, prompting the government to make some changes to sweeten the terms of the concessions.

The government also plans to auction off two other highway contracts before year's end.

A total of nine stretches of federal highways covering a combined 7,500 kilometers (4,660 miles) are to be awarded in concession as part of the PIL, which foresees private investment totaling 51.6 billion reais (some $23.45 billion) to expand and modernize those routes. EFE