The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term financing institution, announces two loans totalling EUR 220 million for financing investment projects in the Valencia region:

EUR 175 million for construction of the Alicante Tramway

The first EUR 30 million tranche of a EUR 175 million loan has been granted to Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana for financing the construction and commissioning of a tramway/light railway for the greater Alicante area.

Promoted by the Generalitat Valenciana, the project forms part of a long-term strategy to improve public transport in Alicante, a province with a population of over one and a half million classed as an Objective 1 region under the EU's structural funds.

The EIB loan will go towards the construction of 40 km of lines (two tramway lines and one light railway line connecting with Villajoyosa station). The project also includes the acquisition of 10 low-floor bi-directional tram sets with a total capacity of approximately 246 passengers each, along with construction of a new depot/warehouse in Campello for operation and maintenance of the tramway network.

This new public transport system will contribute to local economic development in the Valencia region and improvement of the urban environment along the coast.

EUR 45 million for the Port of Sagunto

A EUR 45 million loan has been granted to the Valencia Port Authority for financing expansion of the Mediterranean port of Sagunto, classified as Category A in the trans-European seaports network.

The project comprises the design, construction, supervision and preparatory works for the first phase of expansion of the port. The works include: extension of a 1.5 km long outer breakwater; construction of a new 3 km long southern breakwater; dredging operations for the creation of basins and reconfiguration of the access channel; and reclamation of 25 ha for a new regasification plant and 20 ha for a metallurgical terminal on the northern quay.

Expanding the port will make it possible to absorb the forecast increase in existing traffic (mainly relating to the region's metallurgy industry) and the growth of other types of traffic such as that generated by the new Sagunto LNG plant.

Likewise located in an Objective 1 region, the project will foster the economic development of the area and the improvement of transport both within the European Union and between the EU and non-member countries.

The EIB was created in 1958 by the Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community, with the remit of contributing to the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States through the long-term financing of capital investment furthering the Union's objectives.

In 2002, the EIB granted loans totalling EUR 5 426 million in Spain, of which EUR 334 million went towards projects in the Valencia region.