The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is financing the continuing transformation of Romanian town of Sibiu with a new long-term RON 67.5 million (€15 million equivalent) loan to further develop urban infrastructure.
The investment will finance the rehabilitation of about 25 kilometres of streets in the town’s newly redeveloped areas and will improve road maintenance by engaging private sector companies under multi-annual performance-based contracting, according to EBRD.
The loan will also support the implementation of a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, a set of measures to improve mobility for residents and businesses in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.
This is the first project under the EBRD’s new programme entitled Romania Framework for Sustainable Mobility and Access to Regional Transport, or SMART, which finances improvements in public transport infrastructure and services in the country.
Astrid Fodor, the interim mayor of Sibiu, said: “Our objective is to continue improving urban infrastructure which is essential to quality of life. By financing key infrastructure improvements, the EBRD has helped the local administration in making Sibiu a very modern city and a top touristic destination in Romania. I am delighted to continue working together.”
Matteo Patrone, Regional Director for Romania and Bulgaria at the EBRD, added: “Infrastructure investments combined with reforms have dramatically changed Sibiu over the last decade. The EBRD is very proud to have been part of this transformation and we are pleased to provide new financing for improved mobility and safe and efficiently managed streets. This will further boost the city’s economic competitiveness as one of the main tourist and cultural attractions in Romania.”
Modernising urban infrastructure became a priority after 2004 when Sibiu, formerly known as Hermannstadt, was selected as the 2007 European Capital of Culture, together with Luxembourg.
Since then the reform-minded municipality has become one of the largest recipients of EBRD municipal financing in the countries where the Bank invests. To date, the Bank has provided over €70 million in long-term financing, lending directly to the Sibiu municipality and working with the city’s public transport and water and wastewater companies.
Investments in roads, public transport, water and wastewater networks, supported by the EBRD and the EU, have boosted Sibiu’s economic growth and encouraged its transformation into a tourism, cultural and trade hub.
Since 2005, more than 200 streets have been modernised using a combination of local budget funds, EBRD loans and EU structural funds.
In 2006, the public transport company Tursib contracted a €10 million loan which it used to purchase 35 new buses. A second €4.8 million loan, agreed in 2014, is currently financing the construction of a new bus depot in the West Industrial Area, which will divert traffic away from the city centre, thereby reducing pollution.
The city’s water and wastewater company Apa-Canal Sibiu has also received EBRD funds to co-finance projects that will modernise its infrastructure.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Romania. The Bank has invested over €7 billion in the country to date and also mobilised more than €14 billion from other sources of financing.