Transport Minister Leo Varadkar today welcomed the decision by the board of directors of the European Investment Bank, Europe’s long-term lending institution, to agree in principle to provide significant financial backing to support construction of the LUAS Cross City link between the existing red and green LUAS lines, as well as acquisition of new trams and building new stations on the line.
Negotiation of the financing agreement will start in the coming days and is expected to be finalised early next year. The EIB board comprises representatives of the bank’s 28 EU member state shareholders and the European Commission.
“Approval of funding by the EIB for the LUAS Cross City is testimony to the project’s importance and we hope to be able to sign the relevant contracts early next year. This would provide funding for the project at a more competitive rate. LUAS Cross City is a crucial project for Dublin which will link up the existing LUAS lines and connect with the existing commuter rail network, giving Dublin a properly integrated rail network for the very first time,” Minister Varadkar said.
“All sorts of new journeys will suddenly be possible for the first time thanks to LUAS Cross City, which is also expected to add an estimated 10 million extra passengers to the LUAS network. This project shows that even in tough times, real progress can be made. Close cooperation with the EIB has already facilitated a number of earlier LUAS road projects in Ireland, and I’m delighted that it’s now involved in LUAS Cross City,” Minister Varadkar said.
Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending in Ireland said: “The European Investment Bank recognises the importance of linking the two LUAS lines to unlock public transport across Dublin. Approval by the EIB Board is a key milestone in our examination of this project and follows a positive appraisal of the schemes contribution to improving transport in Dublin by the banks experienced transport team. We look forward to finalising legal and financial details over the coming weeks.”
The European Investment Bank agreed to provide € 75 million for the N11 – N7 motorway link in April 2013 and is currently examining support for the N17-N18 Gort to Tuam improvements.