The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is helping finance a new tramline in Antalya, Turkey's fifth-largest urban center and largest tourism resort, part of an effort to help municipal authorities improve public transport and build a sustainable city. In a statement yesterday, the IFC announced that it will provide Antalya with a 140 million euro financing package, helping the city add 18 kilometers of track and 29 stations to its urban rail transit system. Antalya currently has 30 km of tramlines, and the network expansion will connect the northern suburbs of Varsak and Müze to the city center.
The financing will also help the municipality buy 20 new tramcars, the corporation said. "The IFC is providing an 80 million euro loan from its own account and mobilizing a 60 million euro loan from the IFC's Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, which allows institutional investors to passively participate in the IFC's lending program," the statement read. The IFC also advised the municipality, through its Europe and Central Asia Cities Platform, on financing options and safety standards.
Commenting on the latest IFC financing, Menderes Türel, the mayor of Antalya, said: "The commitment of the IFC is a sign of confidence in our city. With the IFC we have developed the most suitable financing model, and we will develop Antalya's rail transport system to become the second largest in Turkey, following Istanbul. Antalya will continue to grow in a sustainable and planned way."
Antalya is Turkey's main tourist destination, receiving around 30 percent of the country's visitors. With 2.3 million people, it contributes about 3 percent of Turkey's gross domestic product (GDP) and is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. The new tramline is expected to carry an additional 25 million passengers every year, significantly improving urban mobility and helping reduce traffic congestion in the city.
"Fast-expanding cities like Antalya are driving economic growth across the developing world," Wiebke Schloemer, the IFC's regional industry head of infrastructure in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, said. "For them to keep growing, they need continue to beef up urban infrastructure in a cost-effective and eco-friendly way. And that's exactly what public transit does," he added.
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