ECONOMY

European bank to support Istanbul's metro expansion

EUROPEAN BANK TO SUPPORT ISTANBULS METRO EXPANSION

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing an €88.3 million ($100.7 million) loan to finance the expansion of the city's metro line, it announced on Thursday.

"To meet the constantly growing demand for public transport, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality aims to expand the existing 145 km (90.09 miles) metro network to 450 km (279.62 miles) by 2019 and to 650 km (403.89 miles) by 2030," the EBRD said in a statement.

The population of Istanbul, exceeding 14 million, is expected to overtake the Greater London and Moscow as the most populous urban agglomeration by 2018, the bank said.

The bank said that the length of the extended line would be 13.4 km (8.33 miles) with 12 stations and connect western Istanbul from north to south, linking six main lines of the city's public transport system.

As part of the city's urban development plan, the new line was planned to go into service in 2019, EBRD said.

The EBRD said the cost of the project totaled €338.3 million ($385.9 million), of which €250 million ($284.9 million) loan was contributed by the European Investment Bank.

Istanbul has developed a diversified economy with strong services, trade, tourism and manufacturing sectors, Jean-Patrick Marquet, the bank's managing director for Turkey, said.

"The regional economy accounts for over one-quarter of Turkey's economy. The city urgently needs a larger public transport network to continue fueling the growing economy and keep its increasing population on the move," Marquet said.

The EBRD, which operates from three offices in the cities of Istanbul, Ankara, Gaziantep, invested €1.9 billion ($2.16 billion) in Turkey last year.

According to the bank, it has invested over €9 billion ($10.26 billion) through more than 220 projects since 2009 in Turkey, which is a top destination for the bank's finance.

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