EIB provides €570 million for UK metro project

By Helen Wright19 October 2011

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has approved a £500 million (€570 million) loan to help fund the expansion of a light rail network in Greater Manchester, UK.

The long-term funding, over 30 years, will be used by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to fund construction of the third phase of the Metrolink system.

This project will see the current network triple in size to total 97km of track, including 99 stops. New lines to Oldham and Rochdale town centres, Ashton-under-Lyne in Tameside, East Didsbury, and Manchester Airport, via Wythenshawe, will be built together with a link across Manchester city centre.

The expansion is due to be completed in 2016 and the EIB loan represents over a third of the overall investment costs of the project.

Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, which is overseeing the investment on behalf of the GMCA, said, "The Metrolink expansion is the single largest investment in public transport in the UK, outside of London.

"It will deliver a legacy for Greater Manchester that will regenerate and transform key district centres and provide new connections to the labour market for businesses."

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