Turkey’s third-largest city, Izmir, is expanding its light-rail system with a comprehensive financing package put together by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and its partners.
To meet growing demand Izmir is investing EUR 157 million in a significant expansion of its urban transport network. The EBRD is co-financing the project with a EUR 38.5 million loan. The International Finance Corporation and Agence Française de Développement are expected to join in with parallel loans of EUR 20 million each. In addition, ING Bank is expected to lend another EUR 38.5 million backed by a guarantee from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency. The city of Izmir is investing EUR 40 million from its own funds.
The investment programme will focus on the expansion of a light-rail system through the acquisition of 85 light-rail transit vehicles. The new transport system, launched in 2000, presently covers a network of 19 kilometres. Its 77 vehicles serve 200,000 passengers per day.
The EBRD loan comes with over EUR 1 million in grant financing from the Bank’s own funds and from the Slovak government to support local authorities in the implementation of the project.
“The new investment will more than double Izmir’s fleet of light-rail carriages to make services more frequent and commuting faster and more comfortable, improving the quality of life in a city of four million. A less-polluting alternative to cars, the improved light-rail network will make the city cleaner and residents more mobile. The EBRD will work with the local and national authorities to find innovative ways to finance urban transport in Izmir to ensure sustainability”, stated Jean-Patrick Marquet, EBRD Director, Municipal and Environmental Infrastructure.