>@EIB/Stadt Graz - Fischer

The city of Graz is modernising its local public transport system. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is making a EUR 95m loan available to Graz for the expansion of its tram network and to finance the purchase of new trams and buses. An agreement to that effect was signed today in Graz city hall by EIB Vice-President Wilhelm Molterer and Graz’s mayor Siegfried Nagl.

Around 100 million people a year use the buses and trams of the local public transport system in Austria’s second-largest city. So that it will also be able to cope with the growing number of passengers in the future by offering a modern means of transport, Graz has drawn up an extensive investment programme. It is thus aiming to considerably increase the local public transport’s share of the overall transport market. In turn, this will have a positive impact on the climate and the environment and thus also on the quality of life in the city.

The EIB loan that has now been signed will enable 35 new trams and 42 new buses to be purchased. Graz is also planning to modernise and further extend its tram routes. The funds are therefore also earmarked for the expansion of current routes, such as the extension of tramline 7 to the new MED CAMPUS. These new schemes are part of the investment programme, which is due to be completed by the end of 2017.

At the signing ceremony Wilhelm Molterer, whose duties as an EIB Vice-President include the Bank’s activities in Austria, said: “A city like Graz, which has to cope with an enormous number of passengers every year, is very much dependent on a modern local transport system. By “modern” I mean: buses and trams must nowadays be climate and environmentally friendly. At the same time passengers rightly expect a certain level of comfort. If the facilities being offered are also increased by extending the tram network, it will be possible to further reduce the amount of car traffic in town. And the whole city will ultimately benefit from this.”

Mayor Siegfried Nagl, who repeatedly emphasises that European integration and the opening-up of borders Graz have been especially important economically for Graz in particular, is pleased about this cooperation. “This expansion programme represents a major step towards the development of an environmentally sustainable transport system, as Graz, with its particular climate, must make an all-out effort to control particulate emissions. This can only be achieved by increasing public transport and offering modern and efficient facilities. Investment on this scale also always gives a boost to the economy and therefore also safeguards jobs, which a rapidly growing city like Graz urgently needs.”