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Sofia metro to expand by 3.5km annually

Date: 25.11.2008

Having received the funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), Sofia city hall said on November 21 that the construction of the Sofia metro will carry on as planned, but the speed of construction will be sped up to 1.6km a year and then boosted even more to 3.5km annually. Sofia mayor Boiko Borissov signed the funding memorandum for 105 million euro with the EIB vice-president for Central Europe lending, Marta Gajecka.

The loan has a maturity period of 25 years and a seven-year grace period. The interest rate will be 0.1 per cent over the Euribor inter-bank rate, the city hall said in a statement, without specifying which Euribor rate it meant, and the money has to be used by 2013.

“This is the first loan the bank has released to the Sofia municipality”, said Marta Gajecka, as quoted website The European Investment Bank sees this as an opportunity for a long term investment in Sofia and for upgrading the infrastructure of the Bulgarian capital, she said.

Borissov said that he saw it as an opportunity for the Sofia municipality to set an example and pave the way for other municipalities nationwide to apply and receive European funding for their local modernisation and construction programmes. “These are the cheapest and most easily accessible financial sources at the moment, and no one can accuse us of anything, as the EIB is the bank of Europe” he added.

The expansion of the first metro line from Mladost borough to Tsarigradko Chaussee Boulevard, with a length of 2.2km will be build first, followed by the second metro line between the borough of Obelya to Nadezhda borough, with total length of 4.15km, incorporating a total of four metro stations.

Two buffer parking lots and the expansion of Lomsko Chaussee, as well as an underground parking on Tsarogradsko Chaussee would also be build using the loan.

Borisov also said that on November 21, negotiation with the European Investment Bank have started regarding the financing of another major project in Sofia – the construction of the new modern plant for waste recycling.

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