The project has been dubbed Toulouse Aerospace Express (TAE) because it will link Matabiau station and the city centre with the Colomiers Airbus factory and the planned aerospace research and technology park at Montaudran, serving an area where 48% of the city's jobs are located.
According to the timeline, a preferred route will be announced in December and this will be followed by preliminary studies on the chosen alignment next year. More detailed studies and a public inquiry are scheduled for 2017 onwards, with the aim of launching construction in 2019. The line would open in 2024 and initial estimates suggest ridership would be around 200,000 passengers per day.
Moudenc says TAE will be easier to construct than the first two lines because the population density of the area is lower, which would enable greater use of cut and cover tunnelling or open cuttings.
Nonetheless, with an anticipated pricetag of €1.4-1.7bn, the mayor concedes "innovative financing" will be required, and the city could seek funding from European Union sources to implement the project.
The third line is also being put forward as an alternative to the extension of metro Line B to Labége in the southeast of the city. Moudenc argues TAE is a better option because ridership on the Line B extension is forecast to be around 35,000 - significantly below the levels predicted for TAE. However, planning for the extension is at a much more advanced stage and supporters of the project argue it could be completed much sooner than the third line.