Providing first class infrastructure for Île de France’s new tram lines while offering passengers a quality landscaped urban environment – that is the objective of the EUR 200 million finance contract signed on 16 March 2012 by Jean-Paul Huchon, President of the Île de France Region, and Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB). The introduction of this new infrastructure will help to significantly improve the service provided to the inner suburbs of Paris, specifically on lines T5, T6, T7 and T8. This project will enable nearly 500 000 additional passengers to use the tram network each day. The rolling stock is being financed by STIF, whose CEO is Jean-Paul Huchon, with an EIB contribution in the form of a EUR 300 million loan advanced last November.

“This maiden finance contract between the Region and the EIB marks a fresh response to the principal concern of the population of Île de France, the development of public transport. It gives a powerful boost to our planned new tram lines under our Transport Master Plan launched in 2008”, remarked Jean-Paul Huchon.

This is key financing for the Île de France tramway”, commented EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive at the signing ceremony. “Performance, innovation and environmental responsibility are the cornerstones of this project, which the EIB is proud to support. It helps to provide alternative, quality transport to the citizens of Île de France, thereby helping directly to improve their daily lives.”

Environmental responsibility lies at the heart of this loan, which chimes fully with European climate action goals. The financing of this project will help to reduce car traffic and pollutant emissions, thereby lessening the impact of road transport use on climate change, ensure a better sharing of roads by increasing the space dedicated to public transport and promote journeys using public transport and “soft” transport modes. It will also improve the service provided to densely populated municipalities around Paris and important employment centres.

This finance illustrates the EIB’s tangible support for public transport and urban development, aimed at improving the energy footprint and quality of life of the population. As the leading investor in sustainable public transport in France, the Bank places all its talent and technical and financial expertise at the disposal of local authorities to enable them to develop alternative means of public transport to private cars. In 2011 alone, just over EUR 1 billion was granted by the EIB in France for public transport and city development. These loans increase the number of tram networks financed throughout France to 27. In 2011, the EIB invested EUR 1.7 billion in French local authorities in key sectors such as transport, urban development and energy efficiency. These sectors accounted for 35% of EIB activity in France.