EIB: EUR 125 mln for railway Pays de la Loire Region
France: EIB lends EUR 125 million for railway upgrading in Pays de la Loire Region
Luxembourg, Luxemburg – In the presence of elected regional representatives gathered at a plenary meeting in the regional government office in Nantes to discuss 2007 budgetary guidelines, Mr Jacques Auxiette, President of the Pays de la Loire Region, and Mr Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), signed, on Friday 24 November 2006, a loan agreement for EUR 125 million for rail transport development.
This project forms part of an investment programme undertaken by the Pays de la Loire Region to meet the sustained growth in demand for rail transport by improving the service provided to railway users and transport conditions. It concerns the delivery of 47 trainsets – 37 Bombardier electric and diesel trains and 10 Alstom double-decker trains – to be put into service on the regional express network (TER) between 2007 and 2010, primarily on lines with a high level of traffic. The total project cost has been estimated by the EIB at EUR 262.8 million.
After Brittany, Champagne-Ardenne and Rhône Alpes, the Pays de la Loire Region is thus the fourth French Region to receive an EIB loan for its railway transport sector.
This new loan confirms the EIB’s commitment to supporting the development of Transport TENs, especially railways. It is also in line with the proactive policy adopted by the EU to enhance the attractiveness of railways in relation to roads and thus to contribute to a reduction in environmental pollution and road accidents. This operation mounted by the EIB as the project’s financial partner will enable the Region to diversify the borrowings required to finance its investment programme.
At the signing of the loan, Mr Jacques Auxiette and Mr Yannick Vaugrenard, First Vice-President of the Region and Member of the European Parliament, emphasised the genuine value added that an EIB loan creates for a local authority: ”the EIB accompanies its loans with the monitoring of certain financial indicators ensuring the local authority’s sound financial position. Moreover, the financial strength of the EIB, capable of attracting other investors through the hallmark it stamps on projects, provides it with access to the financial market on very keen terms”.
For his part, the EIB Vice-President underlined the EIB’s commitment to promoting regional structural projects, including the regionalisation of transport and the completion of the high-speed rail (TGV) networks. Mr de Fontaine Vive also expressed his pleasure at being in Nantes again to support projects which, through their impact on the natural and urban environment, enhance the quality of life of the city’s inhabitants and the daily users of public transport.
In 2005, the EIB signed major financing agreements for the upgrading and extension of the Nantes tramway system (EUR 90 million as a follow-up to the EUR 135 million advanced in 2000 and 1992), for the city’s wastewater treatment facilities (EUR 40 million) and for the modernisation of the university hospital (EUR 50 million). More recently, in June 2006, a EUR 120 million loan was granted for tramway construction.
Combined with past operations in support of various sectors including telecommunications (EUR 94 million), industry (EUR 70 million), SMEs (almost EUR 140 million), road transport (almost EUR 500 million) and improved environmental management (EUR 30 million for recycling of the city’s solid urban waste), the EIB has lent a total of almost EUR 1.4 billion for social and economic development in the Pays de la Loire Region.