Région Pays de la Loire and EIB sign EUR 200m loan to finance rail projects across the region
- Release date: 19 September 2013
- Reference: 2013-143-EN
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The purpose of the loan agreed between Région Pays de la Loire and the European Investment Bank (EIB) is to modernise the regional rail network in order to be able to offer those living in the area a sustainable high-quality service that will meet their growing transport needs. The €200m finance contract was signed today, Thursday 19 September, by Jacques Auxiette, President of Région Pays de la Loire, and European Investment Bank Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive at the Congress of the Association of French Regions (ARF) in Nantes.
This financing operation will help to improve the service throughout the regional rail network via the construction and modernisation of the lines and infrastructure, and the integration of urban and suburban public transport. It covers:
- the acquisition of rolling stock, including 9 tram-trains to serve Nantes, Clisson and Châteaubriant;
- the extension of the Nantes-Blottereau and Nantes-Doulon maintenance workshops;
- work on upgrading the Nantes/Pornic/Saint Gilles Croix de Vie line;
- and the creation of 13 multimodal interchange nodes. Work will also be carried out on the region’s 45 stations in order to improve access for persons with restricted mobility.
In the current difficult economic context, where the supply of loans has contracted, this long-term partnership (which has existed since 2004) reflects both the EIB’s proactive policy and the healthy state of the regional authority’s finances with a view to investment and regional growth. This long-term loan on attractive terms thanks to the EIB’s AAA credit rating and Région Pays de la Loire’s AA rating (outlook stable) will enable the project’s overall financing plan (totalling more than €500m) to be genuinely optimised. At the national level it demonstrates the European Union Bank’s strong commitment towards forward-looking projects in key sectors for development such as transport, innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities (Campus plan), hospitals or even housing, for which the Bank has already earmarked nearly €5bn in France since January 2013.
At the signing ceremony Mr de Fontaine Vive said: “As the French regions’ leading European partner, the EIB is delighted to be supporting this major project, which will have a direct impact on the economic and social development of this region. The local inhabitants will be the prime beneficiaries of this upgrading of the regional but also urban and suburban transport network. This is how Europe acts: in the heart of the regions and towns via sustainable projects that will promote growth and employment”.
“Since they have been responsible for local trains, the French regions have considerably increased public services, acquired new, modern, high-performance trains, and helped to improve the standard of the services to meet the needs and expectations of a growing proportion of the population. Pending new funding from a fiscal stimulus, this support from the EIB for the Loire region gives a positive signal for the maintenance of forward-looking infrastructure investment across the region”, added Mr Auxiette, who concluded by saying: “There will be no need to approach the regional banks for funding, which means that they will be able to give preference to the smaller authorities in the Loire region. We shall continue our work with the EIB for the future, for financing other potential projects involving upper secondary schools, investment in research and higher education, and even in the field of upgrading digital services”.
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