The loan agreement between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Rennes Métropole to finance Line B of the Rennes metro is aimed at providing users with an enhanced, efficient and sustainable transport service. This large-scale financing operation amounting to EUR 300m was signed on Friday 23 January 2015 in Rennes by Emmanuel Couet, President of Rennes Métropole, and Philippe de Fontaine Vive, senior EIB Vice-President.

This loan, which is being granted on competitive terms thanks to the EIB's AAA rating and the long maturities offered, is vital for Rennes Métropole. The loan will specifically contribute to the construction by 2019 of a second metro line, which will link the La Courrouze eco-district to the ViaSilva eco-suburb. This EU finance will also serve to purchase the rolling stock required to operate the line (19 trainsets with tyres) and construct a new maintenance and sidings centre and three park-and-ride facilities.

At the signing ceremony EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive stated: "Like us, Rennes Métropole has made efficient, sustainable public transport one of its priorities. Europe is proud to support this large-scale project which will make this city even more dynamic, attractive and competitive. It will foster economic and social development whilst improving the daily lives of the city's population. The EU's activities are thus affecting the very heart of our regions."

Emmanuel Couet, President of Rennes Métropole, remarked: "The signing of this agreement is a mark of recognition and confidence in our region. This extraordinary EUR 300m loan represents much more than a financial opportunity. Following the project's launch by the Prime Minister on 19 December 2014, it provides further confirmation of the soundness of our project and the credibility of our budget trajectory."

A large-scale project

The construction of the second metro line is currently one of the largest public works projects in France, involving a total investment of EUR 1.2bn. Covering a distance of 13.8 km, it will serve 15 stations with expected passenger traffic of nearly 110 000 journeys a day.

The construction of this new metro line will require substantial resources and specific technologies, e.g. for the tunnelling of an 8 km section of rocky terrain and for the construction of underground stations equipped with innovative geothermal systems to tap the earth's core for energy.

The EIB – a key partner to revive the economy through investment

The agreement signed today is the second operation between the EIB and Rennes Métropole, following on from the financing of the first metro line (EUR 115m) in 1997, which brings the EIB's total investment in the transport sector in the Brittany region to nearly EUR 1.2bn.

This financing operation echoes the EIB’s unprecedented activity in support of projects promoting growth and employment in France, for which the Bank dedicated EUR 8.5bn in 2014, with 25% of that amount going to local authorities.