THE board of directors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved new financing worth a total of €3.8bn for sustainable transport, including rail and metro projects in Albania, the Czech Republic and Spain.

“New financing approved by the EIB today will support investment to enable greater use of sustainable transport,” says EIB president, Mr Werner Hoyer.

The largest single allocation will see EIB provide a total of €2.07bn towards investment projects with an estimated total cost of Koruna 97.5bn (€4.14bn) that are being implemented by Czech infrastructure manager SŽ.

The projects include upgrading lines in the Czech Republic that form part of the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), and the deployment of lineside ERTMS as well as retrofitting infrastructure maintenance vehicles with ERTMS onboard equipment.

The EIB financing will also go towards a programme to improve level crossing safety.

By improving the quality of rail services in the Czech Republic, the upgrades are expected to reduce the use of road transport and the associated negative impacts on the local environment, road safety and greenhouse gas emissions, thereby contributing EU sustainable transport objectives.

Several projects will increase capacity on existing lines and remove bottlenecks, thus allowing traffic growth, while the interoperability benefits of ERTMS are expected to improve the competitiveness of rail against other modes, according to EIB.

The EIB board has also approved financing of €120m towards the €415m cost of rehabilitating the 120km main line from Vore, near the Albanian capital of Tirana, to Hani Hotit on the border with Montenegro.

EIB says that this project is of great strategic importance, as the Vore - Hani Hotit line is planned to become part of the TEN-T Core Network and to connect Albania with the European railway network.

Albanian Railways (HSH) has already agreed a sovereign loan worth €62.9m for the Vore - Hani Hotit rehabilitation project with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

In Spain, EIB is providing €200m towards a €520m package of investment by Madrid Metro to upgrade both infrastructure and rolling stock under its 2022-25 investment plan.

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